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Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

Dereck1701 Something doesn't add up (277 comments)

Something about this doesn't add up, $40,000 distributed between 8 employees is about $5,000 per employee over about 3.5 Months. Assuming that they all worked the Sept 8 - Dec 21 window that figures out to about 15 weeks, or about $333.33 a week that they weren't paid I'm guessing to get them to minimum wage (all BEFORE taxes). Even figuring an average of 100 hours a week that puts their minimum wage pay in California at about $900, where as at $1.21 it would only have been $121 a $779 difference. Those "special bonuses" must have been pretty hefty. Somehow this doesn't sound as nefarious as the Labor Department is making it out to be. It could be some cultural thing, kind of like how in the US waitresses aren't paid much of anything but they make it up and more in tips. In any case they were underpaid by US standards, but not nearly as much as the Labor Department is claiming, and assuming that they weren't trying to skirt US Taxes by claiming to be under India's auspices. US taxes alone would eat up that $333 difference and put them right back in the same boat they were in as before if India's taxes are far more lax.

yesterday
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

Dereck1701 Re:To me, this is good news (74 comments)

I see you're new to the US, Welcome! Things here rarely are canceled because they're "holding the responsible party's feet to the fire". Projects can go orders of magnitude over their budgets, with less capabilities then promised and and still continue unquestioned (F-35, Big Dig, Bridge to Nowhere, Afghan command center, Solyndra). The only thing that really stops a project is if it doesn't have enough political clout and the money is wanted by those who do or it is proven beyond all doubt that it will never come to fruition.

5 days ago
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Watch Comet Siding Spring's Mars Fly-By, Live

Dereck1701 16 minutes and counting (33 comments)

I've got it loaded, but not expecting much of anything interesting in a "live" feed. Any earth based telescopes aren't going to have the resolution to see anything interesting and any Mars based assets are going to take a few days to send any decent resolution photos.

5 days ago
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Robot SmackDowns Wants To Bring Robot Death Matches To an Arena Near You

Dereck1701 Re:Not until they're sentient. (82 comments)

If you're referring to the "Chinese curse" "may you live in interesting times" you might want to look up its etymology. Apparently here has never been a similar widely used saying in Chinese history, our wide usage of it in the US appears to date back to Robert Kennedy using it in a speech. No one seems to be quite sure where he got it from.

5 days ago
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Robot SmackDowns Wants To Bring Robot Death Matches To an Arena Near You

Dereck1701 Re:Piloted? (82 comments)

Hopefully this setup won't be as cheesy as Robot Combat League, while I didn't watch the show from the clips I've seen it was like a big version of "Rockem Sockem Robots, with fake sparks & some manufactured damage instead of a spring loaded head. While it sounds like this competition will have its own simulated damage hopefully it will be a lot more realistic and more quantifiable than the random whaling that seemed to be RCL.

5 days ago
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Robot SmackDowns Wants To Bring Robot Death Matches To an Arena Near You

Dereck1701 Piloted? (82 comments)

It looks interesting, but why in the world are they piloted mechs? Remote control them with a simulated cockpit so you don't have to make a bunch of convoluted rules so no one is injured. If things take off and the tech improves you can also ramp things up from a simple paintball game type setup to bots that can actually inflict damage.

about a week ago
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The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Dereck1701 Amusing (349 comments)

I find it amusing how people continuously claim to "know" what is and isn't possible based on our infinitesimally short stint into the sciences. We have had electricity in any meaningful fashion for what, 120 years? I'm not saying that cold fusion is possible, and even if it is it may take a society that has been advancing technologically for over a million years to achieve it. But we aren't even children when it comes to knowing the intricacies of the universe, we're a few cells dividing. Claiming what is or isn't possible is premature to say the least.

about a week ago
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How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Dereck1701 Re:It only takes one ... (381 comments)

Wouldn't a person holed up in a bunker be in an very effective self quarantine? If they had the disease whether or not they recovered it would be contained which is a lot different than an Ebola contact nurse who jumps on a commercial airliner despite symptoms. Both are crazy but one is at risk of infecting no one, one just put thousands of people at two airports and on a tightly confined aircraft at risk. So which is more dangerous?

about a week ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Dereck1701 And the sky is blue (610 comments)

Obviously its cheaper, how could what is effectively a generator with some propellers and an inexhaustible free fuel source be more expensive than something that needs a massive infrastructure of fuel mining, refinement, transport & waste disposal? True, wind does currently have one glaring drawback, it is not an "on demand" power source and must be either used when it is in abundance or stored for later use. But in the long run I think renewables are going to be a no brainer. Fossil fuels are going to have a place for our foreseeable future as well as a backup/baseload/niche energy source but with even moderate advances in energy storage technology renewables in their various forms are probably going to provide a majority of our energy in the coming decades.

about two weeks ago
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Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Dereck1701 Hospitals (421 comments)

Hospitals..... One of the most contagious places in an area. Being in an environment with the highest concentration of infected people is bad enough, but hospital employees have been known to have less than stellar hygiene. I think an entire technology product sector has had to be created just to encourage employees to wash their hands regularly.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

about two weeks ago
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DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

Dereck1701 Re:"Consented" (191 comments)

It goes quite handily with all of the other terms they've corrupted. Like that recent story about how information doesn't count as being "collected" until its looked at (mass surveillance), the "shall not/no law/nor shall/limited time" portions of the constitution have mostly been rendered into "whatever you think its necessary" and the (re)interpretation of the "interstate commerce" clause would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

about two weeks ago
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DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

Dereck1701 Insane (191 comments)

Are they insane? Wasn't there a run on creating laws in many states just to stop high school students from making fake facebook pages to harass? This act not only could result in job loss, public humiliation, harassment & other life changing events but in threats and even death if an angry drug dealer/user came after her. This officer even misused private information collected for the limited purposes of serving as evidence in a trial. This officer and anyone associated with this heinous act should be charged with identity theft, property theft, libel, unauthorized access to a computer system (remember violating a TOS is now considered to be a crime) and fraud.

about two weeks ago
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Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

Dereck1701 Language (481 comments)

Its of course not a perfect measure, but the ability to communicate would probably be the easiest guidepost as to what we should/shouldn't eat. Language of some sort is required for a society/culture to develop and without society/culture creatures often act on a purely instinctual level. I don't think we have any concrete evidence of a non-human species on Earth having a language, the closest possibilities would be certain cetaceans. I am sure there are other guideposts (personality, intelligence, problem solving, etc) but communication should be the easiest to recognize.

about three weeks ago
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Supercomputing Upgrade Produces High-Resolution Storm Forecasts

Dereck1701 Re:And as the resolution increases ... (77 comments)

I think we're a LONG way from needed to know information the "down to the tree/building level", but I would be very surprised if they aren't using reflectivity and intensity characteristics from satellite photography (usually about 3 meter resolution). I would think that kind of information would tell them the heat generation/absorption/water evaporation of a particular area reasonably well, they may even have to simplify the data so they can compute it "real time". I work with mapping quite a bit and I can tell you that working at that level uses up a lot of processing power, even mapping small areas. I've seen water flow models running on a very high end PC for an area of only a few square miles take an hour or more at those resolutions.

about three weeks ago
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Supercomputing Upgrade Produces High-Resolution Storm Forecasts

Dereck1701 Re:Think of the weathermen! (77 comments)

Where are you that weathermen are reliable enough for you to want to keep them around. Around me there's a running joke that you'd be more accurate at predicting the weather throwing a darts blindfolded at a board with all of the seasonal weather possibilities.

about three weeks ago
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Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

Dereck1701 Headlines wrong (217 comments)

"Security overreaction/faulty airport exit/wholly inadequate security measure causes Airport evacuation" would be a far more accurate headline.

about three weeks ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Dereck1701 Some limits are understandable, but... (488 comments)

I can understand some limits, home/business owners back feeding power onto the power grid could under limited circumstances cause some issues and where they are allowed to back feed forcing utilities to pay more than they would for wholesale electricity sounds a bit much. But complaining that people aren't using enough electricity is ludicrous, the strain on utilities during the mid-day was one of the pushes for peak metering. One of the biggest causes of those higher loads are AC systems, which are used most heavily at the same time where solar is at its peak. Now utilities are arguing the opposite, that they need to up rates because people are drawing less power during those peak hours? Hopefully the technology/economics will develop to a point where completely off grid systems are feasible, at that point we can just let the market figure figure things out

about three weeks ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Dereck1701 Re:Americans are smart. (460 comments)

I imagine it differs from state to state at least somewhat, but here in Michigan I think you can go about 3 years without paying your taxes, maybe 4 or 5 if you pay parts of them, before your property has a "Sheriffs Deed" recorded on it effectively making it property of the State/County/City/Village government. Then said municipality can auction it off, keep it for public use or sell it to someone specific. If you're living on the property at the time the Sheriffs deed is filed what happens varies from municipality to municipality, mine for example just auctions the property off a few months later whether or not the previous owners are still occupying it. It is up to anyone who purchases it at auction what to do about any inhabitants (rent, evict, etc). Its not a perfect process to be sure, but people get multiple warnings (mailed, newspaper, posted & signage) & years of leeway so it seems to be pretty reasonable.

about three weeks ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Dereck1701 Who cares about "warm"? (460 comments)

I don't care how warm and friendly a scientist is, I just want them to not form/publish erroneous theories. I realize the scientific process isn't perfect, but these days its getting so bad in some areas (especially medicine related) that half of the published papers are disproven a few years later because of egregious mistakes our outright falsified data.

about three weeks ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

Dereck1701 Where humans go, so does war (470 comments)

Unfortunately space combat is all but inevitable, humans are a long way (probably thousands or hundreds of thousands of years) from outgrowing our stupidity as the events of the last few decades make quite clear. It definitely won't be anything like Star Trek/Star Wars but some form of combat is likely, either that or we're going to become extinct on this planet. A few shows/Anime have tried to imagine what space combat would be like (Babylon 5, Starship Operators, Planetes, etc), but most forsake some level of reality for story telling (sound effects for example). As with most things it will probably vary with the technology & tactics of the time. At times it will probably be stand off battles with groups of large ships pecking away at each other from a distance with railguns/energy weapons. A few decades later it might be stealth battles with smaller individual ships sneaking around trying to locate the opposing ships or decimating the other sides resources. A few decades later it might be long range missiles. Each side will come up with a weapon and the other will counter it and vice versa.

about a month ago

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