All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech
When you control for working hours and years of experience (as opposed to simply age - women more often take time off work to raise children), there hasn't been a male/female pay gap for decades. However, this is not PC. Feminists don't want to hear that they're done, that they have long since achieved their goals, and that feminism has become counterproductive. Hence, the studies that show this are routinely ignored, and certainly never publicized.
Taking months or years off for child raising, or working only part time, or refusing to travel - none of these things should affect your career or your pay. It ought to be possible to drop out of the workforce at 25, raise your kids full-time for 20 years, and then rejoin the workforce as a senior manager.
It makes as much sense as the rest of the progressive agenda...
Cops Say NDA Kept Them from Notifying Courts About Cell Phone Tracking Gadget
Situation 1: Private citizen is in front of a court; the judge says the defendent must produce certain documents. Defendent says "sorry, judge, I refuse; I signed a private contract promising that I would never reveal that information". Judge says: To jail with you for contempt of court. Do this 200 times, and spend a long time in jail.
Situation 2: Police want to do a search, the law says they need a warrant. The police say "sorry, judge, we signed this here NDA". Two hundred times they did this. Anyone believe the police are going to jail here?
Forcefully entering the apartment for a physical search, also without a warrant, is just added some whipped cream on top...
Using Google Maps To Intercept FBI and Secret Service Calls
Is there a recommended way by FBI or Secret Service where one can go, establish the non-criminal bona-fide of oneself and have an intelligent conversation with someone
I did some minor computer consulting for the Secret Service a long time ago. I was too young at the time to realize what was going on; only in retrospect years later did I realize that there had been zero effort to preserve electronic evidence, share it with the defense, or any of the other niceties one is supposed to expect from the justice system. They knew the guy was guilty, and that was all that mattered.
Given the direction law enforcement at all levels in the US has taken in the past 20 years or so, things today are far worse: increasing militarization at all levels, an even worse mentality of "us vs. them" (where "they" are the entire civilian population). If they decide to target you for something, you are SOL. Getting involved involved with these agencies has huge risks and essentially no advantages. This guy is bloody lucky they didn't charge and prosecute him.
If you've just got to play white knight, at least get a good attorney on board from the very start, and have your attorney with you for all interactions.
Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?
The problem has always been the "old boys network" where top executives take turns sitting on each others' Boards of Directors, approving each others' salaries. These nitwits are so disconnected from the lives of their workers that they probably sincerely believe they are worth such ridiculous salaries.
Starting this year, here in Switzerland, the shareholders must vote on the executive compensation package at the annual shareholders' meeting. This vote is binding: if they vote against (outrageous) compensation, then it won't get paid. I believe this will have a long-term effect, not only because of the vote, but also because it requires spelling out executive compensation in plain terms that the shareholders can understand.
I expect a number of Swiss companies will have a sudden urge to rethink things, before the next annual meetings take place...
US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index
So, press freedom in the US isn't really so bad, because the US has sometimes ranked higher? Even though it has never ranked above rank 20 or so? Is place 20 something to be pround of for the "land of the free"?
Read the report. It's not only about government abuse, which is bad enough, but also includes other factors. "Self-censorship" is a big one, for example, because of factors like "political correctness" (can't criticize minorities, don't dare offend the Christian right, etc.) and fear of lawsuits. However, the government abuses are already bad enough: metadata gathering, collecting specific phone records without warrants, etc.
The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series
Never heard of it. And a science program for the US public is likely to be all flashy pictures and no depth. Still, if it is a success, maybe it will awaken some belated interest in science and education, as opposed to Justin Bieber and Oprah.
Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor
"Many" economists may believe that, but certainly not all - probably not even the majority.
If you are going to pay someone a benefit, do so: send them a check or a bank transfer every month. Hiding subsidies and benefits as "reverse taxes" has lots of problems, but the biggest one is that it is a deliberate attempt to hide welfare benefits so that no one can be entirely sure who is receiving how much. It also adds to the complexity of tax returns and expands the IRS bureaucracy - both of which are goals that benefit only the existing bureaucracy.
HealthCare.gov Can't Handle Appeals of Errors
"Better coverage at lower rates"
Serious question, not a troll: How many of those policies are subsidized? From what I've heard, that's the way people wind up with a cost reduction.
- If they're not subsidized, then I hypothesize that the people should have shopped around - the policies were likely available.
- If they *are* subsidize, then we enter this discussion: Why should person A be able to pay their insurance using person B's wallet?
Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use
I used to work on the government side of things, and this was a political requirement. Congress insists on individually approving annual funding for any program over a certain value. If a program was to be funded, we had to ensure that there were significant subcontractors in every relevant political district. This made no engineering sense, it raised costs immensely, and it made us all want to declare open season on Congresscritters (no bag limit).
It's the system. It needs changed, but the very people to change it (Congress) are the primary beneficiaries. It's nothing more or less than corruption: one of the reasons that being elected to Congress is the same as being elected to the millionaire's club.
Protesters Block Apple and Google Buses In California
A disparity of third-world proportions? Get real.
The disparity in the US is huge, yes, but being poor in the US is a picnic compared to the third world. No one in the US needs to starve. You have a roof over your head. You have at least some money for luxuries like a mobile phone and a TV. Comparing this to third world poverty shows that you've never been to the third world.
These idiots want to drive the high-tech companies out of San Francisco? Maybe they should look at places like Detroit, where most industry is gone. They are idiots, pure and simple.
Rough Roving: Curiosity's Wheel Damage 'Accelerated'
I don't get all the people bashing the design?
Just think how long the rover has been on Mars - far longer than ever expected. It has a few dings in the wheels. Amazing machine!
How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources
NASA is next to useless nowadays - a massive bureaucracy that puts out only the smallest of missions in return for it's massive budget. Sure, the Mars rovers are impressive, but that is just exactly how many missions over how many years for how much money? Pournelle's iron law at work...
Far better would be to offer prizes to private industry. First company to send a lander to Mars that does X and Y: prize $100,000,000. First company that manages this on Venus: prize $500,000,000. First probe to "land" on an asteroid. First company to refine metal from an asteroid. First company to refine fuel on the moon. You get the idea...
Close fricking NASA. For $16 billion a year you can buy a lot of private innovation.
NSA Says It Foiled Plot To Destroy US Economy Through Malware
Right, sure they did. A BIOS attack of the sort hinted at in this interview is difficult to believe.
If they worked with computer manufacturers to close some such massive security hole, then they can easily point to the historical vulnerability. The technical community can verify their claims. Failing that, no, I do not believe such an attack ever existed outside the overheated imagination of some technically illiterate NSA bureaucrat.
In other news, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
Polynesians May Have Invented Binary Math
From TFA: "But their special counting words are all decimal numbers multiplied by powers of two, which are 1, 2, 4, 8 . Specifically, takau equals 10; paua equals 20; tataua, 40; and varu, 80."
So, when working with large quantities, they tended to double things. One heap, two heaps, four heaps. (A) That's not binary math, that's just groupings that they found convenient. The fact that ancient traders introduced 12 and 60 as convenient grouping (because they can be easily subdivided) doesn't mean that anyone ever did base-12 or base-60 arithmetic.
Another sociologist looking for a quick paper to boost the all-important publication count.
Ask Slashdot: How Would You Secure Your Parents' PC?
This is a really hard situation. Not least because the stress of provided continual tech support for a low-skills user ends up putting a lot of strain on otherwise good family relationships.
My solution, in the end, was to practically force my mother onto an Apple. Apple is a better basis than Windows for users who otherwise muck things up. Also, dunno if this is still available, but at the time the "geniuses" provided her with decent support for a pretty marginal annual fee - relieving me of a lot of the tech-support stuff (why can't I print? I can't get on the Internet! - usually something silly). This was a relief all around.
Failing that, why not Linux. Mint/Cinnamon can be made to look a lot like Windows. Assuming it's an older version of MS-Office, LibreOffice is nearly a plug-in replacement. If Email isn't already in the web, put it there. Browsers are browsers, and no one should be using IE anyway. Set up a Linux machine with three desktop icons: Browser, Email (link) and LibreOffice Writer. Make everything read-only except where documents are saved, uninstall everything else (or at least remove the obvious shortcuts).
Bitcoin Token Maker Suspends Operation After Hearing From Federal Gov't
The thing is: all the horrific crimes you name are what the authorities need to go after. Auxiliary laws about money laundering are designed to make their job easier, and the authorities are so focused on chasing the criminals that they do not care about the collateral damage that these laws cause.
It's really no different that the law that makes it illegal to lie to a federal officer. The FBI is the classic example, because only the FBI is allowed to keep a record of what you say. That record is not objective, but instead consists of handwritten notes. They use this as a tool to force people to confess to crimes, or to testify to whatever the FBI wants them to. A very useful tool for the FBI - and one that has screwed thousands of innocent people.
The same for "structuring" bank transactions. If I choose to make two $9999 deposits into my bank account, this may well be prosecuted as a felony, even in the absence of any other criminal activity.
Law enforcement has an important job. However, they should be able to do this job without all of these secondary laws that create crimes where none exist. If they cannot, then: better a ten guilty people go free than one innocent person go to jail.
Bitcoin Token Maker Suspends Operation After Hearing From Federal Gov't
Ok, let's go back to basics: why is money laundering illegal? Why are banks required to report transactions over $10000; and why is structuring (making multiple transactions just below this threshold) illegal?
These are all laws designed to make the job of law enforcement easier. There's nothing inherently wrong with depositing $9999 into your back account, but do it twice and you may be up on charges even if your transactions were perfectly innocent. Similarly laws against money laundering are vague, and trip up more innocent people than guilty ones. All money laundering mean, at its root, is having a series of transactions: Buy yacht, trade it for a diamond ring, sell the ring. There's nothing wrong with that series of transactions, but because they are hard for the government to track, it is somehow your fault.
Thousands of Germans Threatened With €250 Fines For Streaming Porn
Three links of possible interest, concerning "The Archive AG" - mostly in German:
Article in the Handelszeitung
The address appears (on Google maps) to be more than just a mailbox. The two people running it are Germans - it's not clear why their company is in Switzerland. Downloading in Switzerland is legal, by the way, justified by the fact that we all pay these surcharges on empty media.
For anyone who has been threatened by The Archive AG, the article in the Handelszeitung includes a reference to an IT attorney who is apparently advising many people in this case.
Switzerland Wants To Become the World's Data Vault
Here's one Swiss hoping we can vote FATCA down a black hole.
Our government sees itself in a difficult situation: we are very dependent on open trade agreements, not least because we are physically surrounded by the EU. So our government rolls over any time open trade is threatened. Many of us think they need to take a harder line. For example, the agreement with the EU requires us to accept essentially unlimited numbers of immigrants - what sovereign country would ever sign away the right to determine its own immigration policy. Now we that we have the issue with FATCA, there is at least a chance that the population will tell the government that it has gone too far.
Smart Cars: Too Distracting?
It all comes down to user interface design. A good interface will grab you attention only when it has something important to say. And it will avoid false warnings. A lousy interface *is* distracting. So is an interface that screws up, by grabbing your attention with incorrect or irrelevant information.
Just as an example: my current car has a very distracting audible and visual warning when it detects ice on the road. The problem is: this warning delivers 99% false positives (in fact, it seems to be triggered simply by the thermometer crossing a temperature threshold (3C), in either direction). So - yes - it is a dangerous distraction. However, if the manufacturer had actually gotten it right, it would have been very valuable.
As far as issuing commands, it is really the same thing: poor design. Is the interface reliable enough that you can trust it to do what you say? Does it give positive confirmation, or leave you wondering?