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Nuclear Missile Command Drops Grades From Tests To Discourage Cheating

Kelbear Re:"unrealistic expectations of the Air Force" ? (99 comments)

Who are you talking to?

The summary states that 90% will continue to remain the minimum requirement for success, as it was before.

  The "unrealistic expectation" was making promotion decisions based solely on the difference between 93% vs 95% on the test score. A 90% was the equivalent of a "D". The problem was that to be promoted, the expectation was to hit that 2% difference (which may very well be a single question on the test) and that would mean the difference between being promoted or not being promoted (which means a host of different responsibilities). It's nice to have a firm metric you can point to in order to justify the decision that was made.

The problem is that the single question out of many, was the deciding factor between 2 candidates to take on a multitude of increased responsibilities, their qualification for which may not be accurately gauged by a single question out of many on a graded exam. For comparison, let's say you have 2 programmers take a test, programmer A gets 93%, and programmer B gets 95%. They both clearly have a very strong grasp of the requisite knowledge, which would you promote? The 95%? Well what if programmer B has excellent book-retention, but is lazy and disorganized in his personal and professional life? Maybe he has poor leadership skills over the people that he/she oversees? The idea of promotion based on a tiny difference in already-strong test scores starts to fall apart.

4 hours ago

35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Kelbear Re:Lies and statistics... (470 comments)

This is exactly what I'm going through. We're overdue on a medical bill from the hospital for my 21month old son's birth. In addition to my wife's insurance coverage through her employer, I'd purchased additional 100% coverage for her through my employer.

So, she's got primary insurance and secondary insurance. But the hospital doesn't care. The correct way to bill is to send it to the primary insurer, receive a statement identifying the remaining amount, then send the remaining amount to the secondary insurer, then receive a statement identifying the remaining amount, then send the remaining amount to the patient (which in our case, should never be more than the co-pay as we'd purchased 100% in-network coverage). 1) Primary, 2) Secondary, 3) Patient.

80% of the bills we'd received had been sent after going through just the primary insurance. You can't just pay the bill and claim from your secondary insurance (we'd tried that). Because sometimes the hospital bills you, and then claims from your secondary insurance simultaneously, and then the check from the secondary insurance could go to the hospital, and the hospital gets double-paid by both the patient and the secondary insurance, and god help you trying to explain to the hospital why they need to send you a check. Every bill required multiple follow-up calls to explain to different agents at hospital how to claim from a secondary insurer. My son was born 10/27/12. We're still dealing with the medical bills from his birth.

6 hours ago

Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Kelbear Re: surpising (168 comments)

Well here's a counterpoint view:

It has a lot of charts and modeling that I don't understand, but at a high-level view, this analyst pins the lack of profitability to Amazon's revenues growing in less profitable business ventures while growing relatively slower in the more profitable business lines. In 2002, 78.8% of revenues were from Media, 19% EGM, and 2.2% Other. In 2014, it's 29.6% Media, 64.8% EGM, and 5.5% Other. Media has much bigger profit margins than EGM(electronics and general merchandise), and the company's weight has shifted heavily behind EGM. AWS has good profit margins, and will grow quickly as it's a relatively new and blossoming business arm, but it's unlikely to grow to the kind of size that would shift Amazon's sales mix away from EGM. Under this guy's reasoning, this means we can expect Amazon's profit margins to continue to bump along the bottom tied to the low margins on EGM, and can't foreseeably create the kind of high margins on EGM that would justify it's high share price, since it's an extremely price sensitive business. It makes this stock questionable in the long-term.

Nevertheless, I still bought shares today because it's a 10% discount off of one earnings report that doesn't show some kind of underlying catastrophe. They'll probably rebound to some degree within a year. And hey, I don't have that author's powers of analysis, but maybe Amazon's shotgun strategy of trying to find new ways to grow their business will find a winner (This latest phone isn't going to be it, but maybe something else will be).

5 days ago

Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Kelbear There's no mobile presence to unify with. (322 comments)

Unifying the underlying architecture to enable different platforms to talk to each other, while allowing for different UIs for each platform, is a good idea.

But it's pointless, because MS has no mobile presence worth speaking of. Android and iOS are what people use and have already bought into that environment with their data and apps. Just like you can't push people off windows because their customers are already entrenched in windows as their desktop OS, MS won't be pushing anybody off their mobile devices onto a windows-based mobile device. Maybe MS might even develop a few attractive feature for windows phones, but it'll still lack apps, and lack a customer-base needed to drive app development, and ultimately, it's doomed to fail. If they were going to pull this off successfully, it would have had to have taken place years ago.

Now, if they want to unify desktop and mobile, they need to build in Android and iOS support, because that's where people are.. Otherwise, this whole endeavor is pointless.

about a week ago

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Kelbear Re:Pft (962 comments)

This is a pretty key mistake in the summary.

This article is not about harassment of women in the game industry. It's about harassment of women when they go on the internet.

Gaming isn't even relevant to the article or the issue. On the internet there are people will want to hurt you with whatever information they can get about you. Show that you're _____, you're going to get insulted for _____. Go on the internet, show that you're black, you're going to get called a nigger. Go on the internet, show that you're female, state an opinion, you're going to get called a cunt. Show that you're anything but a medium-built, white male, you're going to get called something unpleasant relating to those differences. If you ARE a medium-built white male, you'll still get called unpleasant things, but they won't be related to your differences because you're considered normal in at least that regard. Bottom Line: the more you get noticed, the more disgusting messages you'll get. If you decide gaming is the source of this problem, you'd be missing the root cause: People are shitty when they're anonymous. I sure wish people weren't like that, but changing the primal behavior of humankind when they're freed from consequence is what we're really talking about here. Not gamers being somehow better or worse than any other constituents of the internet.

I thought the article might have been interesting if it was exposing some unusual treatment they get in person when they're working at their job in the games industry. Instead, it's about them going on the internet making public statements and being upset at the shitty people on the internet. It's sad, but it's also not a surprise, and the conclusions drawn in the article are woefully misplaced.

about a week ago

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Kelbear Was this a smart move? (300 comments)

I wonder how this will affect Microsoft's stock price? If you cut a lot of heads you might lose some productivity and the quality of your product might drop. But it seems like everybody already hates what Microsoft is selling, but they have to buy it anyway. In that kind of situation, lowering their costs to expand their profit for no change in revenue doesn't seem like a bad idea. This is, of course, assuming those layoffs aren't coming out of key R&D departments (though the company is already seen as primarily a dividend stock with limited growth prospects). They've got a ton of cash and steady profits, this certainly isn't a move forced by necessity.

The article suggests that the cuts are primarily hitting ex-Nokia employees that serve redundant functions with the pre-existing MS departments, as well as marketing and engineering. Should they have been kept on? He did mention his future focus would be in mobile. Anyway, I hope these people land on their feet, maybe in a better job and in a better work environment. A lot of people's lives get upended when big layoffs hit, more than just the employees laid off.

about two weeks ago

FCC Public Comment Period For Net Neutrality Ends Tomorrow, July 15

Kelbear Re:Don't forget to comment (69 comments)

That's a very important point to make, people give up on writing to their politicians because they always get canned responses, but those canned responses (at least in NJ) are relevant to the point of my letters, which meant that a staffer read the letter, understood my position, and had to pull up the relevant response template.

In the process of doing so, the staffer adds my position to the politician's mail summary to get a sense of where their voter base stands (as only a few voters bother to even write). This doesn't necessarily mean the politician will do what I want, but in their own self-interest they'll weigh the cost of votes from going against their base, against the lobbyist's campaign contribution buying access to substitute votes, thus their mental calculation is still impacted by my letter.

about two weeks ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Kelbear Re:Cashless can't happen, here is why ... (753 comments)

Would Google Wallet or amazon payments work for personal sales? They charge you the transaction fee if you use a credit card as your method of payment, but to send money via debit payment it's free. The seller just needs to provide an e-mail address. When you get the e-mail confirmation, you let the person walk off with the goods. I'm sure slashdotters will have security concerns about providing an e-mail address to a stranger, but it's not terribly different from the risks of physical mugging

These kinds of transactions require e-mail addresses, bank accounts, and smart phones, so obviously there will be people who won't have the prerequisites, but perhaps a few decades from now they'll be commonplace enough to suffice. More likely, I think physical cash will just continue to circulate albeit at a much slower rate to facilitate these kinds of niche transactions even after digital payment becomes the norm.

about two weeks ago

Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

Kelbear Re:Really bad game to use for this comparison. (210 comments)

There's a significant issue specific to Titanfall, where the mouse sensitivity is linked to your framerate. If you experience slowdown within the game, a movement of the hand that normally moves the crosshairs 15degrees, may only move it 10 degrees.

It's like trying to aim with someone else's hand on a second mouse fighting back against your crosshairs. That kind of unpredictable mouse sensitivity variation also hits at the most inopportune times since a framerate drop is often concurrent with increased activity in the game.

Most games, even if you drop from 60 fps to 30fps, a hand motion that moves the crosshairs 15 degrees, will still move the crosshairs the same 15 degrees.

about three weeks ago

Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Kelbear Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (78 comments)

Buzz did an AMA yesterday on reddit:

He elaborated a bit on why he thinks NASA should target Mars, and the short version is that NASA is spread thin with a tiny fraction of the budget it once had to venture to the moon. NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big. We can visit an asteroid, and few will raise an eyebrow. If we go to Mars, it'll be a landmark achievement that the world will make note of. It's a dream that can focus and revitalize the space program, whereas the asteroid visitation is simply aiming too low as the overarching goal for NASA.

about three weeks ago

College Offers Athletic Scholarships To Gamers

Kelbear Re:$19,000 — half the cost tuition and room (102 comments)

I think international enrollment may very well start to be a thing.

But I would point out that in Europe, there's people crossing countries on a daily basis just commuting to work, while in the US, there are families who haven't left the country except for brief vacations, or not at all. Living in the US is all they know, and all they want, and the parents are already twisted up inside about having their kids leave home, to consider sending them halfway around the world adds to their stress.

For many years college has been seen as the indispensable class gateway to access the middle-class life. No introductory price could be high enough to offset the prosperity the graduates would see on in their career. This vision changed VERY suddenly:

The cost of college grew at a lightning pace since the time the parents had gone to college, the kids had never dealt in financial matters, and the intangible debts accrued were a problem for the future when the kids would already be enjoying a successful career that would allow them to pay it down...except that with the recent financial crisis and recent-graduate employment rates falling off a cliff as recently laid-off middle-age workers are taking up entry-level positions, the young graduates found themselves with significant debt but without the middle-class career path they'd counted on to help pay down that debt. I think that international enrollment will indeed grow in response to this problem unless something else is done to address it. It's just that this problem had hit so suddenly that the culture of choosing colleges hasn't shifted quickly enough to keep up. Colleges transformed from a gold mines to minefields in a short time span. We're seeing the opinions shifting now though.

It's important to bear in mind that the massive spike in tuition is at least, a progressive pricing structure (though it has its flaws and gaps). US colleges defend their pricing by saying that the ridiculously high tuition is the list price that gets charged to the more affluent families, and that inflated price helps allow for tuition discounts to the less affluent families to get into the college.

There is some nuance to that pricing structure. TL;DR, if a student goes to a reputable STEM college to major in STEM, then that high tuition is funding the salaries of famous professors and their projects that make your STEM college reputable (and your degree as well). If a student goes to that college to major in art history, they're probably going to get a very bad deal out of it.

about a month ago

Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

Kelbear Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (435 comments)

Part of it could be their parental leave policies. These tech companies like to hire talented young people. Some of those young people will want to have kids.

So if you're looking at 2 equally qualified candidates that are 30 yrs old. One will be taking 7 weeks of paid vacation in the next few years, the other will be taking 18 weeks of paid vacation in the next few years. Well, why not just take the one who's going to be around more?

Now, I didn't specify if either candidates was male or female, but I think we all know which one is going to create less disruption when they have a kid. This kind of difference between the genders is pervasive throughout the country's culture. The assumption that the female will be taking care of kid more than the male is already codified in every company's parental leave policy.

Here's the solution: Give them both equal parental leave. It reduces the benefits of gender discrimination.

It eliminates an ingrained assumption woman as the primary caregiver for children, and opens up the opportunity to view these two hypothetical candidates as equals. Because in practical terms for the hiring manager, they aren't equals.

about a month and a half ago

"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

Kelbear Re:low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (166 comments)

Thanks, that's an encouraging and illuminating insight on the low-card/high fat approach. I think I'll give it a try and see how it works out for me. I've lost some weight after resuming regular gym attendance, but I've been finding it really hard to stay under my calorie restrictions when I get pangs of hunger, low energy, and moodswings. Perhaps limiting the carbs to temper the peaks/valleys of my bloodsugar level is just what I need.

about a month and a half ago

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Kelbear Re:hahaha! (932 comments)

This feels like a significant setback for moderation. The GOP has been losing national elections already and talk of re-evaluating their pitch as a party had already begun, now the sitting members of the party just got jolted by this event and can be expected to pull hard right to tighten their base at home, rather than moderate to try to build rapport with the moderate independent voters as a national party.

The way things are going, the GOP will trend even farther right-wing, and may lose even more ground as a party. And where does that leave us? An unchallenged Democrat party against the remains of an ultra-conservative GOP?
1) It leaves pretty much everyone right of the middle marginalized and unable to find representation.
2) It leaves 1 party unchecked, that's just plain bad for American voters.
3) It completely stops legislation for the next several years.

Many people expected that the GOP's right-wing pull would need to get worse before it got better, and I had hoped that it already happened. Now it'll have to get a lot worse before the shock to the GOP can be absorbed and the party can build the will to give up the support of the far right to try to vie for the middle.

about a month and a half ago

Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B

Kelbear Re:Sprint and T-mobile should give up on LTE (158 comments)

T-mobile has indeed been on a roll with upgrading it's network.

It's interesting to note that this was made possible by a $3bil cash infusion from AT&T because AT&T failed to complete their attempted acquisition of T-mobile a few years ago. So even if Sprint fails to complete their merger attempt, they obviously won't have to pay up quite as much, but they're likely to have to fork over something, which could result in even more expansion of T-mobile's network.

(I'm a current t-mobile customer and the coverage is quite decent in the northern NJ/NYC area, I too have noticed coverage in areas around me moving up from 3G to LTE service).

about 2 months ago

Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B

Kelbear Re:I would allow them to merge allright (158 comments)

I'll also add that AT&T's failed attempt to acquire T-mobile, resulted in AT&T having to hand over $3 billion in cash to T-mobile for failure to complete the merger, allowing for the very significant LTE rollout to major metropolitan areas that has allowed T-mobile to obtain the dramatic increase in customers and brand improvement they've seen in the past few years.

If Sprint acquisition of T-mobile fails, they probably won't be handing over $3bil since Sprint is a much smaller player in the market than AT&T, but there's a good chance that they'll have to cough up a considerable amount of cash to T-mobile too (these merger-failure contingencies are common since the acquiree has to open up it's books and business plans to a competitor in good faith expectation that the merger will succeed).

about 2 months ago

Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Kelbear Re:Mutant registration is a good idea, by the way (493 comments)

If we're dealing in the comic universe, and arguing from the viewpoint of those trapped inside, the justification that all databases WILL be compromised requires 4th wall perspective that only a select few characters have.

Really, the idea that super-villains will always be able to defeat anything the super-heroes can cobble up has little support within the universe, because the heroes constantly win against ludicrously slim odds...and do so with ridiculous regularity. They laugh while leaping into their apparent doom because they'll survive largely unscathed as they have many many times before. Their bravado has been supported by experience. From the viewpoint of the superheroes within that universe, It's just as feasible for the superheroes to cobble up insane security measures that could not conceivably be broken by any entity interested in earthly affairs. It's only the readers like you and I that know that comic authors only detail the complexity and robustness of a security system only to have it breached shortly afterward. But for the heroes, that's not a factor they can conceive, and it shouldn't be influencing their opinion on the matter unless they have 4th wall perspective.

For example, pick any superhero with a secret known by someone other than themselves, or documented outside of their own mind. The fact that secrets still exist in that universe shows that they can indeed be preserved. Even Spiderman's identify after being made public, was made secret again. The mutant registration act could just as easily succeed as it could fail. And given the heroes vs. villain track record, it should lean heavily in the direction of success from the viewpoint of the heroes. Hell, it's being pushed by the illuminati, masters of science, technology, magic, heck, reality itself was subject to their will.

If we want to go really really meta, then we should know that we'd never have the secret identify of every marvel superhero revealed to the world because it would derail far too many character arcs and make for bad reading. Leaks would be limited at best to C and D-level characters, or somehow retconned if it somehow happened to major characters.

about 2 months ago

Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Kelbear Re:Mutant registration is a good idea, by the way (493 comments)

I agree, the mutant registration was puffed up to be this big bad thing, but really, it's not unlike registering a firearm, and requiring that people walking around with guns have at least had some training in how to properly handle a gun, in order to prevent harm to themselves and to others. Even gun control activists would agree that proper firearms training is essential.

As for the active use of powers, the mutant registration act wanted them to register and answer for using their powers, like a cop deciding to use his gun. If the mutant doesn't want to actively use their powers and just go about their business like a normal person, that's fine, it's like leaving the gun holstered instead of popping it off willy nilly.

about 2 months ago

Valve's Steam Machines Delayed, Won't Be Coming In 2014

Kelbear Re:One of the classic blunders (134 comments)

OTOH if you launch 1st generation product that's flawed just enough that there's no interest in a 2nd generation product, all of the development effort was wasted, and none of the feedback will make any difference since the opportunity has been lost.

Right now they have only mild interest in the 1st generation product to begin with, even if all of the promised features are fully realized.

Really, the "Steam Machine" isn't terribly exciting, it's just a branded PC. I don't see any realistic scenario where the Steam Machine makes an impact on the industry.

SteamOS is useful to me, since I play PC games on my TV, and further development to expand Big Picture mode into a full OS experience would be very welcome because a windows UI is horribly clunky for use on a TV. But even as one of the few people in their very niche market for this product, I'm not all that excited about it. My setup works already, though SteamOS might help, it won't be a full replacement for a long time(if ever).

The new controller is the most interesting piece since it may widen the types of games that can be playable with a controller on a couch. I have a rising coffee table and full keyboard and mouse, but I'll gladly take opportunities to play more comfortably with a controller so long as I'm not trying to play a game competitively.

about 2 months ago

Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

Kelbear Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

I "believe" in evolution, because I don't have a deep enough knowledge of the theory's mechanics and the primary evidence to form what I'd need to really know it evolution to be true on a factual basis. For the most part, I'm simply accepting evolution to be true on the authority of experts. There's probably quite a lot of other people like me who accept scientifically derived facts based on an apparently high consensus among experts.

I'm taking comfort in the belief that if I were so inclined (and had the wherewithal to do so), I could directly examine supporting evidence that establishes this information as fact. It's an important distinction from a belief in religion which, even if it were somehow testable, makes no guarantees about holding up under direct observation.

about 2 months ago



Ask Slashdot: Why do mobile versions of websites suck?

Kelbear Kelbear writes  |  about 7 months ago

Kelbear (870538) writes "As user traffic over mobile devices grows in leaps and bounds, it's surprising to me as a layman that so many companies still have crippled and broken mobile pages in late 2013. There must be justifiable reasons for this, so: Fellow Slashdotters, can you please share the obstacles you've seen in your own companies that have delayed or defeated efforts to develop competent mobile sites? Are the issues in obtaining or maintaining compatibility driven by platform owners like Apple and Google?"


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