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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

rolfwind College is unsustainable longterm (50 comments)

I banged the drum of the German model before, but basically you apprentice somewhere for low pay (note, still pay) which increases each year. After that, you have a skill in demand and cannot be copied by someone that gets 2 weeks training or some such at a corporate camp in America.

My cousin went that route, going as a chef. First he wanted to stay in America, but would have to give out $60k over multiple years at one of the premiere schools here and it wouldn't be training at a real kitchen, but a student kitchen. Great theory and all but just not the same. Also, all he'd interact with would be other students and a handful of professors.

He went over there, snagged an apprenticeship at a very well respected hotel, and worked in varying stations in the restaurant kitchen from day one. A real kitchen that had to push food out the door at peak hours of lunch and dinner. And he got paid enough to live on and even save. Also got some theory at a state school they sent him every season (free). Now that he's out, his "European-trained chef" credential open a lot more doors than the stateside degree.

As I see the American model, it looks like most of the liberal arts degrees jobs require is to make sure they don't get an idiot who got passed along in the public school system. However, the degree is often meaningless in context of the job.

We essentially sold the youth of this country down the river, having diluted the high school diploma to toilet paper and promising them that an expensive college degree is a good way into a good job. Jobs that are increasingly not there.

If you look at trends of service jobs and outsourcing, the return on a non-stem degrees is questionable compared to having tangible skills that cannot be employed in China and bought back here in a finished product.

Looking at the longterm trend of US's economy (thanks to it's debt), I would definitely jump onto the skills market again if I were coming out of High School and not all into STEM degree.

4 minutes ago

Experiment Suggests Monkeys Can Do Basic Math

rolfwind Who didn't know this? (85 comments)

My accounting department and midmanagement is full of 'em.

2 days ago

$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

rolfwind Re:Sunk Costs (283 comments)

Cosmetic designs of a hand like-prosthetic to prevent adults staring uncomfortably and children exclaiming "cool"!

Idk about you, but I'd think an obvious robot hand would be easier to deal with than a fake looking piece of plastic mimicking a human hand.

2 days ago

Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

rolfwind Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (396 comments)

Reading this on ethanol made me lose any hope in the government being anything but Oligarchy run:

AFAIK, putting 10% ethanol in gas drops the mpg of cars more than 10%. At least according to a Consumer Reports article I read years ago and they went by rule experience. Basically it means that if they took all the ethanol out of the gas, and gave you 0.9 gallons pure gas instead of 1 gallon adulterated, you as a driver would be better off.

So the entire industry is completely taxpayer supported bullshit. We're carrying an industry that has no use. And this in an era where water table is decreasing (corn is unbelievably thirsty), food prices and meat rising astronomically, etc.

I have friends in the corn states. The corn farmers (and usually farm corps) are well off... at the expense of everyone else.

And there are hundreds of other examples like that. For every 1 good thing the government does, it seems there are 4-5 examples of overreach which costs everyone and only benefits a small segment.

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

rolfwind Re:LaserJet II and LaserJet 3 (691 comments)

Or maybe they didn't try to shave a dime, nickel, or penny off of the cost in all the wrong places.

I swear most of my stuff that brakes is overwhelmingly not due to a big expensive part, but cheap shit where the labor costs 100x+ more to replace it than the part itself.

Even in cars, when it's electrical, where the new board or component cost several hundred $$$, the old one only died because some cheap ass component died but hard/uneconomical to track down.

5 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

rolfwind Re:iPhone 4 Meets Washing Machine (691 comments)

I find the earpiece speakers in them go to shit easily. Otherwise okay.

5 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

rolfwind Re:My toilet (691 comments)

Toilets really are one of the best tech inventions of all time. And I do mean tech in every sense of the word. Porcelain is the best material for it, and while the chinese had it for a long time, when the west (Kingdom of Saxony) got it/discovered it, it gaurded the secret closely. Thankfully it got out, are it would be relegated to fancy sculptures and plates.

This isn't to mention all the requirements like running water and sewer system... but a lot of tech resembles Maslow's hierarchy of needs, as in the oldest stuff is generally the most essential, and as time goes on, the newer stuff is icing on the cake.

5 days ago

Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

rolfwind Re:Of 1000? (466 comments)

$5,000,000 might be nice if the USA doesn't start to hyperinflate by then. Have some hard assets as backup.

about a week ago

Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

rolfwind Is it dead? (110 comments)

Looking at their stock, it never required from dotcom, and has been on a slow decline since (but up from 1 year ago).

I can't imagine mobile CPUs will ever have the margin or profit of desktop CPUs. Or even close.

Sure, there are a bunch of cheap PCs. But apple or samsung comes out with a phone, that's just the same cheapish cpu several millions of times over with no variation.

Is this just another case of a company chasing elusive profits once it's market has been commoditized? In a way, Intel isn't important once Microsoft isn't important anymore.

No need to run x86. So why push x86 into the portable space?

about a week ago

UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

rolfwind Nothing will happen (432 comments)

Human minds just aren't made to react to something so abstract, so distant, so far away. Look at the crisis building up with the US economy, national debt, and so on - something that could cause a whole generation to undergo a great depression yet nary a thought is given to it.

For example, on the economic situation, this guy was made the US's top accountant for over a decade, and appointed to posts by both R and D presidents and yet he makes videos that can barely garner 2k views about the situation (since September):

I guess if there was a girl twerking in it, it might work.

Anyway, that's how it is. We react, many don't think too far ahead. Both situations are basically simple concepts in theory (global warming is built on the green house effect which is simple to demonstrate, the economy on interest and other high school math), but so many interests go in and muddle issues, that the average guy doesn't know what to believe, so even those with a modicum of forethought are stymied by special interests.

And the special interests want status quo. Nothing will happen. That's the tragedy of democracy and why it never really lasts long. Power and money is like water, it always gathers and concentrates.

about two weeks ago

Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

rolfwind Feet first? (431 comments)

Do they always jump in feet first with these new teaching methods or something? Don't they test it on a small control group or a dozen to make sure it's not the latest new-age garbage?

It always surprises me how often I hear parents complain about a new way of learning something in school. Latest was my neighbors talking about a new way to teach math, they tried helping their kids but the methodology was so alien to them that they were stumped.

And that's where a lot of the new, marginally improved (if at all) methods fail, because parents have to be able to act as back up teachers, and if it's completely different than how they learned it. Fail.

about two weeks ago

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

rolfwind WRONG WRONG WRONG (862 comments)

The confidence levels in the data are 99%, not in the conclusion.

PS - I believe in man driven global warming, I just hate sensationalized headlines.

about two weeks ago

Amazon Reportedly Launching Smartphone This Year

rolfwind 3D is going to mean jack shit (38 comments)

3D has been met between a variation of "MEH!" and "meh" after the initial oohs and ahs wore off for theaters and consoles and TVs. It's a feature people take but don't care about.

What will help Amazon get into the game is if it's divorced from carriers and does better pricing on that front. Kinda like how a kindle can get (slow) internet connectivity elsewhere. If it can get people a smartphone for $30~ish a month voice and data. Then it will be cool and a game changer. Otherwise it's just another phone in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

about two weeks ago

Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

rolfwind Re:Level of public funding ? (292 comments)

This reminds me of all types of mining, where first people discover the big nuggets, then the small nuggets, then pan for specks, then go after good high grade ore, then the 30...20...10..1% ore. Until we're blowing up mountains chasing 0.001% stuff like they are doing for gold. Getting an ounce for every one of those humoungous trucks. I think when the Alaska gold rush started, accounts said miners were literally scooping out $2,000 a shovelful.

Same goes with oil. Super rich easy to get to oil just blasting out of the ground.... and as time goes on, we have to drill, needle and prod to get the stuff.

It's all EROEI. Energy returned on energy invested. Makes absolute sense for science as well.

I would say the scientific future isn't dim though, just that with current tech, there isn't much to discover in, say, theoretical physics, until we seriously start space exploring, because are limited on experiment we can run on earth. Just like we can't really take off on nanomedicine until reliable nanorobots are in place for scientists to test out their theories on. To put it another way, ships were of a limited design until steam engines came into place. Then ship designers could go crazy again. And then the nuclear engine came into play and military ship designers could go crazy again. Sometime until the pieces fall into place, the rest cannot go forward.


about two weeks ago

Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

rolfwind Re:The world is changing. (224 comments)

I am a fast reader (>400words per minute), and when i skim a screenful of information or code I exceed this significantly.

I'm always skeptical of people clamining superhigh reading speeds. I mean, yeah I can skim easy text to and just "float" above it, but what about when comprehension and understanding are required; like when you read a biology or math text and other such material you haven't encountered before? What good does reading speed help there if it goes in one eye and out the other, so to speak??

about two weeks ago

Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

rolfwind Re:Freedom of Speech? (328 comments)

What is speech? I think that's making any argument you'd like for or against something, the establishment, other ideas, the man, etc.

I think requiring the sign-off of all parties for pornographic videos (or any any other really where privacy is a reasonable expectation) might not be a bad idea.

But maybe it can be generalized. Say video of a person is captured in a changing room at some dept. store, the security guard takes it to try to sell it to a magazine because he thinks it's a famous person, it gets printed/put on the web. Should that be allowed? Now, think, that perhaps even if it was a celeb, they should be afforded the same protection as well?

I think perhaps it can be generalized to situations where the person expects privacy, video should not be released unless it's in the public interest (you catch the President discussing how the NSA can break into private homes to get documents) or for other criminal matters (politician taking bribes, adult trying to lure kids in a van, whatever).

Isn't there a line that protects both free speech and human dignity?

Given how small cameras and microphones have come, our freedom of speech has slammed into our rights to be safe and secure in our own homes, and lastly our own persons, our bodies.

Just like disallowing someone to yell fire in a theater, you are not actually imposing on free speech in a significant way, (I can still argue that it can be allowed, or that fires in theaters are a problem, etc), I don't see how allowing for human dignity will impose on free speech here.

I can see how a law will do that, but only if we try to be staunch and try to resist at all costs. This debate has been long in coming. We should participate and be instrumental in crafting something reasonable instead of letting a draconian law pass that merely uses a legitimate issue for the legislators' and their handlers' own ends.

What do we have to lose out on? A quick laugh at Star Wars kid where we got a few seconds of enjoyment at the cost of years of this kid's life and psyche, and other misfortunates like him? Where's the free speech in that?

about three weeks ago

Illustrating the Socioeconomic Divide With iOS and Android

rolfwind Re:Google's ANdroid Playstore (161 comments)

From what I have seen on the cheaper android stuff, it's like Microsoft vs Apple all over again from the 90s.

Just from the POV of cheaper hardware but at the tradeoff of bloatware/computer monitoring/antivirus and the like vs a walled garden.

about three weeks ago

Illustrating the Socioeconomic Divide With iOS and Android

rolfwind Re:Amazing Insight (161 comments)

I would say it's a variety of factors. I got relatives this $99 Aldi tablet because they are almost completely computer illiterate so anything beyond email was a bonus. I'm not that near and dear to them as to afford them ipads.

I expected the hardware to be completely half-assed, but for the price it was surprisingly good, to the point that I could put Netflix on it and it would play videos. The problem was not the hardware. Granted, the screen was anything close to beautiful unlike recent iPads (or even old ones), the battery wasn't huge, but sufficient for 90 minutes of netflix. The CPU was okay.

The problem was the experience was abysmal. Had some anti-virus preinstalled that slowed shit down. Skype kept forgetting it's password. A ton of apps listed in searches in the Google Play store weren't compatible with my device despite being for a tablet (don't know why). My relative came back to me with their tablets nearly unusuable, one had a browser with over 50 tabs open. It became no longer a matter of just closing the app, or closing tabs (more and more would spawn, wasn't malware or bad websites, just previous tabs and the close button became unresponsive on them). A lot of the built-in apps were always on and sucking the life out of its battery. Apple got a lot of bitching for it's limitations but they got a lot of it right. (Still, I think some limitations should only be defaults able to be turned off by the power user).

I didn't give them a Google Store name/password simply out of their own protection. So they can never buy an app and have to come to me, but they honestly are just happy with what they have so it's unlikely.

So it's not just a money factor. I think anyone can afford .99 apps and the like. When you have people who don't know what computers do, they are likely to hunt down the cheapest options (or be given the cheapest options by others) and buy them and never go past that.

about three weeks ago



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