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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mpercy Re:Best metric (272 comments)

About 18,000...

about two weeks ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1930, 45.94
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1940, 48.54
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1950, 51.20
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1960, 52.58
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1970, 53.00
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1980, 55.46
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1990, 56.63
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 2000, 57.82

In other words...

For those reaching adulthood in 1940, the average person was expected to live 3.5 years beyond SS age of 65. Pay in for 45 years, collect for 3-4 years.
For those reaching adulthood in 2000, the average person is expected to live 10.82 years beyond SS age of 67. Pay in for 47 years, collect for 10-11 years.

about two weeks ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Perhaps, but those are longevity statistics (and not correct per CDC figures). You are ignoring the odds of making it to 60, mortality statistics.

Average life expectancy of people born in 1930, 59.20.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1940, 63.62.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1950, 68.07.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1960, 69.89.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1970, 70.75.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1980, 73.88.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1990, 75.37.
Average life expectancy of people born in 2000, 76.86.

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1930, 15.24 (i.e., live to average of 75.24).
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1940, 15.91 (75.91)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1950, 17.04 (77.04)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1960, 17.71 (77.71)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1970, 18.34 (78.34)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1980, 20.02 (80.02)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1990, 20.90 (80.90)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 2000, 21.55 (81.55)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/n...

about two weeks ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

In earliest days of Social Security, there were hundreds of "contributors" per beneficiary, but that was a startup issue.
In 1945, there were 42 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1950, there were 16.5 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1970, there were 3.7 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1990, there were 3.4 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 2010, there were 2.9 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.

Income inequality has nothing to do with the problem.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy True enough (190 comments)

In the past, Democratic and Republican administrations issued some contracts without competitive bidding for speed and to save money. When seeking the highest office in the land, Mr. Obama explicitly stated that he would not tolerate such practices. “I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” he thundered to a Grand Rapids, Mich., audience on Oct. 2, 2008. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.” After becoming president, Mr. Obama continued the attack and promised on March 4 to “end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts. In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition. And that’s completely unacceptable.”

That was then; this is now. Last week, the Army revealed that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, was awarded a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through next year. This deal was announced only hours after the Obama Justice Department informed the public that it was joining a suit filed by whistleblowers who allege KBR used kickbacks to get foreign contracts.

http://www.washingtontimes.com...

about a month ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy it's OK, though because Obama says so (441 comments)

The Administration is going to say it's OK for wind farms to kill eagles despite what the Endangered Species Act says, perhaps because the owners donate to Democrats. Interesting to see the tree-huggers and green-energy people in-fighting...

ABC News.com

A California wind farm will become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco, will receive a special permit allowing up to five golden eagles to be accidentally killed over five years. Previously, such a violation could potentially draw criminal charges and discourage private investment in wind farms known for catching birds in their rotors.

about a month ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy Re:Sounds about right... (441 comments)

http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...
http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...

Reservoir provides 1,000MW of capacity that can be tapped quickly, and water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir using off-peak power.
The whole thing is a as a load-balancing feature of the nuclear plant (2500MW). Use the off-peak load excess to pump water up to the upper reservoir overnight and tap it to level off peak demand that happens during the day.

Alternative power sources like solar and wind could certainly use such a system as a battery too, but geography might prevent it.

about a month ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Meh, $468M is about one Solyndra (190 comments)

And we got zippo for that expenditure.

Hey, maybe we can start using "Solyndra" as a unit measuring government waste.

about a month ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Wow, CO2 beats out the Sun? (190 comments)

Perhaps you meant as a greenhouse gas, but then you dismiss water vapor?

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Simplest way to deal with H1 Visas (341 comments)

"The green card is just like the current one: you're basically just like a Citizen, except you can't vote, and you're not eligible for all the social services that Citizens are (this part is somewhat debatable)."

I think it's not debatable at all.

I've got no problem at all with people coming here legally (e.g., with criminal background check) with a valid visa and green card. But if you need social services (including EITC and child care credits) beyond an emergency room after a car wreck, there's no upside for the country.

Also, children born to such green card holders ought not be citizens (Congress gets to define what "and subject to the jurisdiction" means, and contemporaneous information about the 14th show that it was commonly understood that "visitors" would not be "subject to the jurisdiction" and therefore not gain automatic citizenship for their offspring downloaded on US dirt).

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Republicans always want to hurt the economy... (341 comments)

I know that charity and goodwill means seeing a man in need and inviting him into my home for food and shelter. If the same man crawls through an open window and helps himself to the contents of my pantry and trashes my home, then calling the police and hoping he goes to jail is not a crime against humanity.

It behooves us all to distinguish between Hispanic (or any other ethnicity) immigrants and illegal border-jumpers.

Anyone, no matter what race or original nationality, who comes to this country legally; who strives for citizenship; who embraces our language & culture while respecting their own traditions; who wants to help keep this country great--I welcome him with open arms and call him a fellow American. Those who sneak into this country illegally; who break immigration, employment, tax, zoning and even basic traffic laws on a daily basis; who reject our culture and retreat into barrios; who demand taxpayer-funded social services not even available to citizens in good standing--I have little sympathy for them and their "plight".

"We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birth-place or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people." [Teddy Roosevelt]

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Lower cost for H1B ? In your dreams .... (341 comments)

I've thought that if companies are really that desperate for H1B workers--because they claim there are simply absolutely no, zero, zilch, local citizens capable of doing the job--then that job is certainly worth a hefty premium. Figure they ought to be willing to pay 1.5 or even 2x the "going rate" for that H1B worker, what with supply and demand being what it is. Not to mention an additional one-time tax paid to the government that runs about 1x the H1B's salary.

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Refugee camps? (341 comments)

Sure, let's build some of those. We can keep these pitiful refugees there until it is safe for them to return home.

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Mostly myth (341 comments)

Overstaying a visa, a common way of being in the US illegally, is a civil issue.

However, that's not the case for border jumpers, as imprisonment is clearly part of the potential punishment.

8 U.S. Code 1325 - Improper entry by alien

Any alien who
(1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or
(2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or
(3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

Did you bring your child or any other aliens with you when you jumped to border? Criminal.

8 U.S. Code 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens

(a) Criminal penalties
(1)
(A) Any person who—
(i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;
(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;
(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law; or

shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).
(B) A person who violates subparagraph (A) shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs—
(i) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i) or (v)(I) or in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), or (iv) in which the offense was done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both;
(ii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v)(II), be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both;
(iii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) during and in relation to which the person causes serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, or places in jeopardy the life of, any person, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and
(iv) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) resulting in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined under title 18, or both.

And once an illegal gets here, assuming they've avoided the criminal penalties of these and many other statutes, their whole life here is one long string of criminal actions, starting with that first job:

US Code says [Title 18, Part I, Chapter 47, Section 1015] "Whoever knowingly makes any false statement or claim that he is, or at any time has been, a citizen or national of the United States, with the intent to obtain on behalf of himself, or any other person, any Federal or State benefit or service, or to engage unlawfully in employment in the United States...Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

about a month ago
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Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

mpercy Why am I picturing (534 comments)

an all-chicken production of Fiddler on the Roof (of the coop)?

about a month ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

mpercy Re:No it is true (455 comments)

"Only proper transparent pricing allows you the opportunity to be sure you're not being ripped off."

Advertising a price and selling goods at the marked price, a la McDonald's, does not provide the necessary information to let me know if I'm being ripped off. First, being "ripped off" is a matter of degree, but I figure a 10% profit margin is fair. You may think more or less is fair.

To know if that burger is fairly priced, I need to know the wholesale costs of ingredients, labor costs, and fixed costs. If their cost per burger is about $2.75 and they sell it to me for about $3.00 I'm going to rate it as a fair transaction. If I were to discover that McD's costs are 10 cents per burger and they're selling it for $3.00, then I start to feel ripped off. Same for a car, sell me a car that costs $27.5K to build at a price that's around $30K and I won't feel ripped off. If I find out that the cost to build the car was $1000 and I paid $30K for it, I'm gonna feel ripped off.

Despite being able to see the advertised the price "transparently" and knowing I can actually purchase for that price (as a maximum), without knowing or at least having some instinctual unconscious basis for the sellers costs I cannot form the "ripped off" opinion. Neither McDonald's nor the car dealership is likely to post their actual costs for a "transparent" evaluation.

An advertised no-haggle fixed price is "transparent" only in the sense that I can compare to other vendors for the same item. It is not "transparent" in the sense of avoiding being ripped off.

about a month ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

mpercy Re:No it is true (455 comments)

Every car I've ever bought has a sticker price right there on the window, and you don't have to haggle. If I was inclined to think that price was reasonable, I'm *certain* the dealership would be happy to sell the car for the price as written on that tag stuck to the window. And the MSRP is advertised endlessly for cars. It's as transparent as any price posted anywhere else for any other goods, if "transparent" means posted for public viewing as the price you can purchase the goods for. You can absolutely buy a car for the sticker price and avoid the whole negotiating process just like you do at McDonald's.

It may not be the *lowest* price at which it is possible to purchase the car for, just like McDonald's posted price is may not be the lowest price I could buy the burger for. In that fashion, they are both equally transparent: there's an advertised price which may not be the lowest possible price. Sure there's a difference in the variability of the final price, i.e. a lot more burgers are sold at the advertised price than cars are sold at MSRP, but its a matter of degree not kind.

Why don't people negotiate prices at McDonald's? Perhaps because even getting a 10% reduction in price on a $3 burger isn't worth the time it would take to negotiate. On the other hand getting 10% off of the $30K sticker price on a car is worth an hour of my time.

I've gotten 10% off a large order at Pizza Hut (like 10 pizzas for a big party) just by asking for a "volume discount", so even a place like Pizza Hut with "transparent" and apparently fixed pricing has some variability under the right circumstances.

about a month ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

mpercy No it is true (455 comments)

"This is simply not true for the vast majority of retail situations. In almost all cases there is a sticker price that is what you pay. You can easily compare different stores for price and choose the cheapest, or accept a higher price because you prefer the store for some reason."

All that you have going here is that the sticker price is almost always *already* in the range both parties are willing to accept, so there's a much smaller incentive to work to get a lower price as a buyer or a higher price as a seller. That sticker price is offered *because* it almost always avoids haggling, which is important in high volume situations.

As for not caring about McD's prices, that's probably because you understand at some level that McDs is probably not a high markup situation, where volume is preferred over optimizing per-customer pricing. And you probably have an understanding of the price of the raw materials and labor: you know you could go the store, buy ground meat, buns, condiments, and make your own burger for less, but not *that* much less. And again, the sticker price falls within your tolerance level. If McD's started selling a Big Mac for $22 sticker price, you probably would be unwilling to buy it even though the price is "transparent" what with being right there on the big board and all and with store personnel absolutely unwilling to sell for less.

about a month ago

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