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Comments

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Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

TheSync Re:H1B applicants are people too (177 comments)

H1B applications contain personal data (of the type Slashdotters are usually passionate about protecting),

Slasdotters believe in lots of freedoms except the freedom of movement of labor. Because they believe in the religion of nationalism.

yesterday
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Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

TheSync uh.... (177 comments)

Privacy?

yesterday
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Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

TheSync Re:Riiiiiight, because that's what this issue... (441 comments)

Sadly, we likely lost the war on Global Warming back in the 70-80's when China industrialized. Oil was too cheap to force innovation in renewable power.

Oil is not the big CO2 source of China - coal is. China would love to get rid of all coal and move to nuclear, and they plan to have 150 GWe of nuclear by 2030. Unfortunately, today they have 707 GWe of coal.

yesterday
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

TheSync Re:I'm all in favor... (403 comments)

Genetic mutations are largely a constant. Every generation will continue to exhibit mutations, the vast majority of which have no impact on procreation and are either carried on, or not.

But any effort to create a protein or change regulation changes the metabolism, which can be a selection pressure when competing for resources with native strains that don't spend the energy to make those proteins. For example, genetic alterations in bacteria for DNA computing elements) can disappear rapidly in a culture, sometimes this happens on the order of hours.

3 days ago
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Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems

TheSync Free-routing (72 comments)

The Economist has a great article on free-routing. Not only does this save time & fuel, but a "continuous descent approach" is also quieter at airports.

about two weeks ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

TheSync Chemistry (323 comments)

In the late 1950's, my father had to take German as part of his chemistry grad school (think Adolf von Baeyer, Fritz Haber, Otto Wallach, Richard WillstÃtter).

Now as far as I see, the highest SJR ranking German-language titled journal is Journal fur die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik founded in 1826, but most articles in it are English language.

Also ironically Springer Science+Business Media, a leading scientific journal publisher mainly of English language journals, is based in Germany.

about two weeks ago
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One In Three Jobs Will Be Taken By Software Or Robots By 2025, Says Gartner

TheSync Slashdot post from 1800 (405 comments)

OMG 99% of all agriculture jobs will be GONE by 1990! What will all the unemployed do?

about three weeks ago
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Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

TheSync Re:And still nothing in the US (111 comments)

Southwest doesn't share its prices with other sites. I can tell you that a "Wanna Get Away" fare from SW with 14 day advance purchase LAX to SFO is under $80 one way, some flights are under $70.

about a month ago
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Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

TheSync Re:And still nothing in the US (111 comments)

My JR Tokaido Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto was $140. A Southwest flight from LAX to SFO is $73.

I think of Southwest as the real "high speed rail" of California. Flights take off almost every hour.

about a month ago
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

TheSync On the bright side... (151 comments)

Burning Man Uzbekistan 2015!

Build your camp in one of our rusting ship hulks laying on the playa!

about a month ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

TheSync Re:just be sure to remember how it ended (602 comments)

Cartels are rarely stable. Phoebus has the advantage of patents (and what is the purpose of a patent except to provide the patent holder with a limited period of enhanced revenue?), but once fully exposes to global competition, it fell apart.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Fine! (365 comments)

Unless, of course you use your considerable funds to ensure that people have to buy from you and only you, like Microsoft and Standard Oil both did.

Microsoft never stopped me from using Linux & FreeBSD. At it's height, Standard Oil still left 22% of the market to competitors.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Fine! (365 comments)

but that doesn't change the fact that they are robber barons.

Or "robber barons" concept is a socialist myth. In fact the companies founded by these people generally pushed forward technological or business solutions that revolutionized the economy and made people's lives better. For instance, Standard Oil dramatically decreased the price of oil products (not what you'd expect from a "monopoly").

"Robber barons" is a concept invented by their inefficient competitors to try to hassle them with useless anti-trust laws.

My reading of generosity of "robber barons" is that they considered themselves very lucky, were sitting on a ton of cash, and wanted to do something beneficial to society with that money.

At the same time, many also wanted to have lasting monuments to themselves because they were megalomaniacs. But the truth is that many CEOs tend to be that way. If you believe in yourself enough, other people tend to follow you. That's one of the reasons you pay multinational CEOs so much is because it takes a rare person crazy/megalomaniacal enough while also being reasonably intelligent and socially capable to get tends of thousands of people to take orders from you. And also if you are rich, people tend to kowtow to you as well. It is a bit like...government! Only instead of voting them out of office, you can choose not to buy from them if you don't like the product.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Fine! (365 comments)

Companies like Nike have been steadily moving their labor to the next cheapest place whenever people start asking for fair wages and working conditions.

Actually the evidence indicates that multinational firms routinely provide higher wages and better working conditions in poor countries than their local counterparts, and they are typically not attracted preferentially to countries with weak labor standards.

On the other hand, if manufacturers are forced to stay in high labor cost countries, they will simply use more automation and employ fewer people. US real manufacturing output is near an all-time high, yet US manufacturing jobs are down 35% from the peak in 1979. This is not just a US trend, but typical of all advanced economies.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:"stashes its cash" (365 comments)

Whenever we tax rich people, we're disincentivizing them from being rich, which discourages them from spending their money.

I'm going to tell you that if my family's tax rate goes up any more, my wife is leaving the technical labor force and staying home with the kids because we won't be able to afford the child care. So there will be one less productive technical worker, and less business for the child care workers. That is reality.

We're not "super rich", but we're not bad off at all, although we live in a high-cost area where our jobs are.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Cake and eat it too (365 comments)

Under NAFTA any Canadian with a college degree can get a 'no questions asked' work visa at the border.

I've personally been screwed when we had a Canadian vendor try to send someone across the border to go fix a technical system in Detroit, and he got sent back at the border.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Cake and eat it too (365 comments)

If you incorrectly believe that _everyone_ pays the US 35% corporate tax sure, the US has the highest corporate tax rate.

Microsoft in 2013 paid $5.1 billion in total US federal/state/local and international taxes. This is on $21.8 billion in net income. So they are paying about 23% on a global basis.

Microsoft paid out about $3.1 billion in US federal taxes, and $1.7 billion in foreign taxes, so despite making more profits oversees, Microsoft is paying more in US taxes than foreign taxes.

about a month ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

TheSync Re:Geographic matching (365 comments)

There is value in having developers who are from the countries where you sell your products because their understanding of the local culture and context

I am often dealing with technical product developers in Europe, Japan, or Israel, and it is a bit of a pain to schedule conference calls or get them to travel to meet with us. Much easier if they are in the US, unfortunately the smartest people in the planet do not all live in the US...

about a month ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

TheSync Re:Too bad (474 comments)

After seeing what lack of control of your own currency did to Greece, Italy, and Spain I've come to the conclusion the tight economic binding which is the EU is a bad idea.

Yeah, because insane regulation and widespread corruption can be easily solved with inflation.

Italy: Despite repeated reform attempts, short-term legislative reforms have not been implemented effectively, and the economy remains burdened by political interference, corruption, high levels of taxation, and a rigid labor market. Due to the complexity of the regulatory framework and the high cost of conducting business, a considerable amount of economic activity remains in the informal sector.

Spain: Spain continues to score below the world averages in fiscal freedom, government spending, and labor freedom.

Greece: Over the 20-year history of the Index, Greece's economic freedom score has declined by over 5 points. Despite improvements in five of the 10 economic freedoms, large declines in property rights, freedom from corruption, government spending, and investment freedom have more than offset any gains.

Form 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands has 5.3% unemployment, and GDP per capita of $42,194. Open to global commerce, the Netherlands has long benefited from a high degree of regulatory efficiency that facilitates entrepreneurial activity. The judicial system provides strong protection for property rights.

about a month and a half ago
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The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

TheSync Re:Evolution is hard to stop (196 comments)

or a world where any person would be equally likely to have biological children and grandchildren.

They would have to have precisely the same number of children (i.e. not die to due accident or stillbirth before reproduction), and reproductive assignment between sexual partners would have to be completely random, not sexually selected as it is today (even in countries where sexual partners are determined by parents, the parents are still performing a kind of sexual selection).

But with sexual reproduction, even in such a completely "fair" and "random" mating situation, genetic drift would still occur because although at a single locus each parent passes on one or other allele with a 50% probability of each, that 50% is a statistical average. Out of a ten thousand reproductions, you might find one reproduction where an allele is over-represented or under-represented. So across the population, genetic change will happen.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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.SCOT TLD "Priority Registration" Deadline Approaching

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a month and a half ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Calico.UK, the registrar for the .SCOT top level domain, is advertising "priority registration" ahead of general availability of the TLD just in time for the Scottish independence vote. Scotland of course has no ISO 3166-1 two-letter country code at this time, and even if it wanted one after independence, many natural choices like "SC" are already taken, but then again UK domains tend to use .UK instead of the ISO 3166-1 code "GB"."
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Australia's Failed Government-Owned Broadband

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 8 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Sold as AUS$43 billion gigabit fiber to the home (FTTH) solution, Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) project is now the project is now years behind schedule and $30 billion over budget. The NBN has only 78,000 fiber subscribers, with a price of $93,000 per subscriber. Also most of those subscribers chose 25Mbps/5Mbps service rather than 100Mbps/40 Mbps speeds. It is unclear if NBN will be killed or changed into a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) system."
Link to Original Source
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California seeks to shut down coding bootcamps

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 8 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "VentureBeat reports that the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) sent cease and desist letters to Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy, and others. These bootcamps have not yet been approved by the BPPE and are therefore being classified as unlicensed postsecondary educational institutions that must seek compliance or be forcibly shut down. Unless they comply, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine."
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Dark Matter Found in Cold Gas Clouds

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 10 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Astrophysicist Jessica Werk of the University of California, Santa Cruz studied light from 38 quasars using the Hubble Space Telescope. By looking at the spectral fingerprints in this light, she found that galactic halos harbor at least 10 times, and possibly up to 100 times, as much cold gas as researchers had estimated. If her estimate is correct, it would account for the two-thirds of galaxies’ baryonic matter that astronomers have been looking for. This could go a long way to explaining where all the "dark matter" is."
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"Cosmos" remake coming to FOX in 2014

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The long-awaited remake of Carl Sagan's amazing "Cosmos" series, "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey", will be coming to FOX television next year. It will star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy" fame is an executive producer. MacFarlane was introduced to Carl Sagan's widow Ann Druyan by deGrasse Tyson, and MacFarlane helped them pitch the show to FOX executives."
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NY AG Subpoena's Craigslist for Post-Sandy Price Gougers

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 2 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "In the wake of Hurrican Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.""
Link to Original Source
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Dyle Mobile TV launching on MetroPCS in 2012

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 2 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Twice is reporting that Dyle Mobile TV, the consumer-facing brand launched by Mobile Content Venture, announced that they are partnering to enable MetroPCS customers to watch live, local broadcast television on their mobile phones later this year. This service uses the new ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV standard that allows existing television stations to provide mobile digital television service in addition to their existing HD signals."
Link to Original Source
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Venezuela's Chavez calls for Internet Regulation

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The AP reports that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is calling for regulation of the Internet and cracking down on false Web stories. In a televised speech, Chavez said: "The Internet can't be something free where anything can be done and said. No, every country has to impose its rules and regulations.""
Link to Original Source
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Massive Rube Goldberg Machine Rules YouTube

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "US indie band OK Go has filmed a music video with an awesome 4-minute long Rube Goldberg Machine done in a single shot. The machine is timed to the parts of the song, and actually "does things" to the band members. The video is #1 YouTube's most-watched video of the week, with over 3.5 million views. The video was produced with MIT’s Media Lab and Syyn Labs, and contains the MAKE Magazine car from the 24 Hours of LeMons."
Link to Original Source
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FTC to Regulate Blogs

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to regulate blogs. They are concerned about bloggers who receive compensation from the companies whose products they blog about. The regulation would clarify that rules against deceptive and unfair business practices apply to bloggers. So if Slashdot gets money or non-cash support from Linux vendors and they put up articles about how bad Microsoft is, watch out!"
Link to Original Source
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"Definitive evidence" for ancient lake on

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports on "definitive evidence" for an ancient water lake on Mars. A UC Boulder research team has discovered evidence of a shoreline on Mars of a 3 billion year-old lake 80 square miles in area and 1,500 feet deep (roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain). Images came from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Water carved a 30-mile-long canyon that opened up into a valley and forming a large delta during a time when Mars is generally believed to have been cold and dry. The lack of additional, lower shorelines, shows that the lake dried up very quickly."
Link to Original Source
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First Images of Memories Being Made

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports that researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill and UCLA have captured the first image of protein translation that underlies long-term memory formation. A fluorescent protein showed the increased local protein synthesis during memory formation, which requires cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments of the two neurons that meet at the synapse."
Link to Original Source
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Mortgage Securitization Software Author Mea Culpa

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "New York Magazine has an article written by Michael Osinski, an author of early software to enable collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). He even created a language for mortgage-backed bonds called BondTalk. He says "I never would have thought, in my most extreme paranoid fantasies, that my software, and the others like it, would have enabled Wall Street to decimate the investments of everyone in my family. ""
Link to Original Source
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UK and Obmama to Rate Web like MPAA

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "The NYT reports that "A British cabinet minister says the government is considering a plan to work with President-elect Barack Obama on a new ratings system for Internet Web sites..to protect children from inappropriate material...similar to the one employed by the Motion Picture Association of America". Creepy!"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Why does Slashdot hate/ignore Economics?

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 6 years ago

So on today's article Supplies of Rare Earth Elements Exhausted By 2017, we have these comments rated +4 or more:

The problem isn't economics, it's the idiots that try to invoke it in the way we see them doing here. The fact that the price of a commodity increases when it's in short supply doesn't cure the shortage or make it less of a problem; it merely allocates what supplies remain to those who are willing to pay the most. It's a manifestation of the shortage, not an explanation of it.

In a severe food shortage, yes, the price of food shoots up. People who can afford it continue to eat well (albeit at the expense of other things), but others starve. As far as your typical affluent conservative is concerned, the market has efficiently "solved" the problem.

Economics is the new God of the Gaps. You don't know the answer? Silly old physical laws getting in the way? No problem; Economics dictates that someone else will be motivated to come up with a solution. It's impossible? Why, that just makes it more valuable!

If you are a true economist, then fuck off and play with your stock markets and leave actual science to actual scientists.

I don't know why so many people who may otherwise be informed are so hateful of economics. It is a bit like the reaction from creationists.

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WiFi Cardboard Horn Antenna

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I had my summer intern to build a cardboard horn antenna for testing long distance 802.11b connections. Here are three pictures of it: 1 / 2 / 3. It has about 10 dB gain over a PCMCIA card wireless NIC. The antenna is based on this design.

We tested it across the Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC. Not only were we able to get a signal, but from the DC shore near the Lincoln Memorial, we were able to pick up wireless access points in Rosslyn, VA.

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