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Comment What do the numbers mean? (Score 1) 123

As with most studied, the really interesting parts are hidden in the data.

A few things should be kept in mind. For example, there was a huge difference in two characteristics of the subpopulations. Non-drinkers and former drinkers had much higher incidence of diabetes and being socially deprived compared to moderate drinkers. This is mentioned in the research article but not the Time article. When adjustments for systolic blood pressure, diabetes status, body mass index, HDL-cholesterol, use of statins or blood pressure lowering medication, and whether offered dietary advice were made, the benefits for moderate drinkers decreased but still somewhat remained for some diseases.

However, there was no adjustment for social class. It would have been extremely interesting to see the results with adjustments for social class, or even better just to see the raw numbers for each social class. 30.6% of the non-drinkers were socially deprived ("Most deprived 5th of socioeconomic deprivation") compared to 15.7% of moderate drinkers. That looks like a significant disparity for a characteristic that would seem to correlate strongly with bad health.

Comment Re: Or... (Score 1) 395

I don't see this at all. RT has high scores on some pretty obscure, niche movies; they seem to like arty, symbolic, deep, foreign, etc.

What we really need pretty much for all review sites is a Netflix-like algorithm to sub-aggregate the reviews of people who are "similar" to the reader. The reader can do this manually by reading through a small sample of the total set of reviews, but that method is tedious and very dependent on sampling with small sample sizes. It would be great to have an algorithm to match up the reviews from like-minded reviewers based on inspection of past reviews from the reader and the total set of reviewers.

Comment Re:Before everyone piles on (Score 2) 76

This isn't a tax cheat, at least not with respect to the U.S. The only reason the IRS tried to cash in on this is because the U.S. is almost unique in the world in taxing income that its citizens/corporations make abroad.

Isn't this particular case the exact opposite of what you're talking about? Amazon (and it's fellow transfer pricing compatriots) would like to claim that income earned in a particular country wasn't really earned in that country through accounting sleight of hand.

If individuals could legally use transfer pricing, the US government would financially collapse. Fortunately for US citizens, the laws prevent this calamity by only allowing this privilege of legal tax minimization to entities with income in the billions of dollars.

Comment Re:If it's legal... (Score 2) 448

patently incorrect, you are confusing morals and ethics.

Hmm, well maybe, or we're just leveraging differing semantics. According to dictionary.com, ethics can mean "pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality" or "being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession." I was using the first definition of ethics. The second definition suffers the same dilemma as adherence to governmental laws, since those "ethics" are basically professional laws.

Comment Re:If it's legal... (Score 1) 448

Guess what?? Your ignorant opinion does not override the law.

I can't deny that I'm ignorant about many things and probably about most things in general. My main assertion in this thread is that the law does not proscribe ethics, an assertion that would seem to at least be anecdotally supported by various laws that are obviously not ethical in the context of contemporary sensibilities, e.g., laws that legalized slavery, the killing of Jews, etc.

Comment Re:If it's legal... (Score 1) 448

It's perfectly ethical to follow the law in a free country like New Zealand and pay whatever taxes you owe. If the amount that you owe calculates to zero, then you are still acting ethically. The legislature is, of course, free to vote to change the tax laws, but there are often unintended consequences that come of it. Taxing your country's economic activity always produces less activity.

I disagree. In my opinion, governmental laws define the absolute minimum level of conduct that is allowed to avoid sanction. To say that I am a law-abiding citizen is equivalent to saying that I am as close to being a criminal as possible. The threshold of ethical behavior lies well beyond the lines of legality.

Comment Re:Google way ahead of all other companies (Score 1) 87

This is the official Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Report for California

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/...

Google is at 5000 miles before a disengagement is required, compared to the 0.8 miles reported for Uber. Google also logged over half a million miles, compared to a couple of thousand of some of the other companies. So at least for the companies doing autonomous vehicle testing in public roads in California, no one come even close to Google.

But are we comparing similar driving environments and challenges? I only see Google cars on El Camino, driving slowly and mostly in the middle lane, i.e., among the least challenging of all driving environments. It would be perhaps more comparable to see how well Google cars perform with arbitrary start and end locations and keeping up with the flow of traffic.

Comment Re:Google as gatekeeper of truth (Score 1) 429

While I don't like the idea that there is a small number of people judging what is true and not for the public to see, however as a culture we had abused our free speech rights creating a situation where checks and balances need to be put in.

While I can see the potential offense and actual harm in lies such as holocaust denial, I maintain that the existence of these lies is actually a symptom of vibrant free speech. I believe that lies and offensive speech are necessary in a free society because their absence indicates the existence of a de facto totalitarian squelching of free speech. Free speech within a proscribed realm of "truth" and "acceptability" is not free at all. It is vital that the right to hateful speech is vigorously protected both by the law and by society. The restriction of speech should only be prosecuted based on actual damages and not offense.

That hateful speech may incite some to violence or true discrimination must not be used to equate these thought crimes to the actual physical crimes. I don't trust anyone to proscribe the limits of truth and appropriate speech -- not the US, not China, not slashdot, and not Google.

Comment Misleading stats (Score 1) 239

"The outsourcing companies, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy in 2014 "used 21,695 visas, or more than 25 percent of all private-sector H-1B visas used that year."

While this statement might have been intended to highlight the dominance of H1-B visa usage by outsourcing companies, the truth goes far beyond that. In 2015, the top-8 companies receiving H1-B visas received 49539 or over 58% of the total visas. Of those 49539 visas, 48651 or over 98% went to Indian nationals. Furthermore, of those 49539 visa, only about 700 went to holders of graduate degrees from schools. That means that these top-8 outsourcing companies received over 75% of the 65000 non-graduate degree visas.

Comment Re:so non dealer service or not paying for softwar (Score 1) 250

I'm not sure it does need to be case by case. If I'm a passenger in a taxi, I'm not liable for any accident. If I'm a "passenger" in a self driving car I should also not be liable.

What if I do something intentionally or unintentionally to distract or incapacitate the taxi driver, like hitting or arguing with the driver or shaking his seat, cranking up my boom box (yes, I'm from the 80's) really loud, etc.?

The car should know if it hasn't been maintained appropriately. If it needs servicing, it can go get it.

I think that self-maintaining cars would be really convenient. However, I can imagine that self-maintaining cars can be quite challenging. A self-maintaining car needs to balance the schedule of all users of the car, the availability of service providers, the economics of service and part selection based on the financial situation of the car owner, relative trust in available service providers, etc. And the owner would need to have trust in the car manufacturer that the car hasn't been programmed to maximize parts and service revenue for service providers (not that such a thing would ever happen ...).

Comment Re:so non dealer service or not paying for softwar (Score 1) 250

Sometimes the user is at fault. Maybe that means not updating software. Maybe that means after-market software or hardware modifications. Maybe that means extreme neglect of maintenance leading to mechanical failure (which happens now with non-self driving cars), assuming that self-maintaining cars will be way off in the future.

Not only can this be out of the user's control, it should be. The car should be constantly monitoring itself, and the car - being self driven - is capable of driving itself to be serviced, or calling a tow truck if it isn't capable of driving, with core functionality disabled if the car detects a state that means it can't guarantee a safe journey.

There's absolutely no reason not to take this out of the hands of the car "owner". The car doesn't have to be capable of servicing itself, it just needs to be capable of getting qualified people to provide that servicing.

I think that self-maintaining cars would be really convenient. However, I can imagine that self-maintaining cars can be quite challenging. A self-maintaining car needs to balance the schedule of all users of the car, the availability of service providers, the economics of service and part selection based on the financial situation of the car owner, relative trust in available service providers, etc. And the owner would need to have trust in the car manufacturer that the car hasn't been programmed to maximize parts and service revenue for service providers (not that such a thing would ever happen ...).

Comment Re:so non dealer service or not paying for softwar (Score 2) 250

so non dealer service or not paying for software updates = car manufacturers get's off.

So doing an jiffy lube vs paying dealer price for oil changes = unauthorized changes?

What if an software update needs a high cost CPU update or an new car as updates end after say 2-3 years? What if updates need an dealer install at dealer shop prices?

Shouldn't fault be determined on a case by case basis? It seems obvious that the self-driving car manufacturer cannot be held liable for all accidents involving their cars.

Sometimes the manufacturer is at fault through intentional design or manufacturing decisions. Sometimes failures occur because driving failures rates to very low rates may require car costs to rise to the level of general unaffordability, so some acceptable level of design safety based on industry standards or government regulations will be needed.

Sometimes the user is at fault. Maybe that means not updating software. Maybe that means after-market software or hardware modifications. Maybe that means extreme neglect of maintenance leading to mechanical failure (which happens now with non-self driving cars), assuming that self-maintaining cars will be way off in the future.

Sometimes the environment is at fault, such as falling trees, sinkholes, flash floods, deer on the highway, etc.

Sometimes other people are at fault, such as drunk drivers, kids shining lasers onto car cameras, saboteurs who mess with inter-car communications, saboteurs who mess with software updating procedures, people who intentionally cause accidents to collect insurance money, etc.

Comment True numbers (Score 1) 318

""In the 2015 fiscal year, for instance, the top 10 firms received 38% of all the H-1B visas in computer occupations alone. All these firms, except for Amazon and to a partial extent IBM, are outsourcers."

Maybe this is technically correct, but this statement is misleading.

In 2015, the top-8 firms received 49,539 H1-B visas or over 58% of the 85,000 nominal allotment. Of these, about 700 had advanced US degrees. All 8 were Indian outsourcing companies, and the overwhelming majority of the visa approvals went to Indian nationals, about 48,650 Indians from these top-8 firms.

Of course, the ironic thing was that a few years ago, my company was unable to obtain an H1-B visa for our new Indian worker who has an EE PhD from a top-5 US engineering school and is definitely top-notch. He was forced to apply for an outstanding researcher visa instead. Ironically, the low-paid, not outstanding Indians displaced the highly paid, very outstanding Indian.

Comment Re:45 years (Score 1) 114

Aggregate years are not years.
"Nine women can't make a baby in one month."

It depends. The theoretical bathtub curve is real and simply says that there is an intrinsic constant failure rate that is dependent on the system and an assumed constant environment. That constant failure rate component always exists but is added to the effects of early-life failures and aging/wearout failures. The average failure rates due to early-life failures and wearout at any system age are never truly zero, but there is often an in-between period where both are near zero. This is where the constant failure rate becomes evident.

If the systems are monitored only (or mostly) in this age range that manifests a constant failure rate, then the elapsed time may be aggregated.

Comment Re:Trolling in the summary (Score 2) 277

At least the authors of these rankings couch their results as "perceptions" of corruption, which might be different from actual corruption. There seems to be a correlation between the rankings and the broadness of economic prosperity among the masses in each country. If so, perhaps, the rankings are more a measure of apathy about corruption. People that have no economic complaints may not care about corruption, and that may be measured as a lack of perception of corruption.

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