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Comments

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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:"stashes its cash" (363 comments)

As for reproduction, I would say that issues that are not in the domain of choice, are not in the domain of ethics. The presumption (dubious as it may be) is that people in general could choose to be in the same financial conditions as multinational corporations. The reasonableness of this disparity in activities seems to directly correlate with the degree one accepts the notion they could (perhaps if they "worked harder"), as you seem to have alluded to yourself. If one simply and clearly cannot, regardless of any questions of individual choice, engage in a particular activity, I would see this as excluding their circumstances from morality or ethics entirely, and therefore others acting otherwise who are in the domain of choice in that respect, would not run contrary to the Categorical Imperative.

I would argue that the amount of effort one puts out is not directly related to the value of ones efforts to society, and that one is generally paid based on the value of their work to the larger society.

By this measure, people incapable of extraordinary feats, "cannot, regardless o any questions of individual choice" achieve extraordinary feats. Bill Gates (as an example) was capable of building a company with revenues such that it was able to take advantage of the tax laws in such a way as to leverage an increase in personal wealth. That someone else can't would therefore exclude their circumstances (and thus the consequences of their circumstances) from morality or ethics entirely (by your own argument).

Thus person A's accumulation of wealth is not immoral or unethical, merely because person B is incapable of doing the same.

I think the problem that most people get tangled up in here is exactly what financial wealth does and does not represent. It represents the ability to do work now in return for a marker that allows one to call upon societies resources and labor at some future point in time to accomplish some goal of their choosing. The assumption implicit in the mind of most people who abhor accumulation of wealth is that the government is better able to direct the resources and labor of society, even though the government has not demonstrated the ability to provide sufficient value to society to accumulate such markers, whole people such as Andrew Carnegie have done so. I have serious doubts that something like the Carnegie Free Library system would have come about without the accumulation of said markers by an individual, who then spent them in such an endeavor. Government unfortunately is incapable of long term thing beyond the next election cycle. The only time this is not true is when term limit or self limits kick in. Even then, we've seen second term presidents compromise their ethical and moral positions, despite the fact that there is no chance of their reelection due to term limits.

4 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

tlambert There you go! (353 comments)

There you go!

"The Damn TSA and traffic stops doing warrantless examination of hard drive and cell phone contents have ruined it for the rest of us".

Very sad.

5 days ago
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Indian Mars Mission Beams Back First Photographs

tlambert Frankly, those are some of the best visualizations (112 comments)

Frankly, those are some of the best visualizations I've ever seen of altitude data on Mars. It makes some of the geologic features very, very clear, compared to other data visualizations that try to do actual color or altitude color.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:Show Equal Investment in College Hires (363 comments)

I'm fine with H1B sponsorship, so long as a company can show they put an equal about of time, money and resources into college hire and training programs.

It is not an employers job to make your labor a marketable commodity. That's your job, until you are hired into another one.

If everyone came to the table with zero ability in a given field, how should an employer know the difference between an untrained person who can be trained to the task, and an untrained person who is ineducable, and will never be equal to the task? Are you seriously suggesting hire/train/fire, hire/train/fire until they find a good employee?

When I first started programming it was very common for me to see programming interns and college hires. I consult with many mid and large companies, and I haven't seen a programming intern in 7 years. I've seen two college hires in that time as well.

I think you are perhaps working in a dying segment of the industry. If you are not seeing new blood coming in, then it's likely that where/what you're working on is on its way out. That's actually typically good news for a consultant, because it means that there will be consulting opportunities, but it also means that non-consulting opportunities will be rare, unless a position opens up through retirement or mishap.

I personally worked with a large number of interns and new graduate hires at IBM, again at Apple, and again at Google. I was increasingly involved in the interviewing and hiring process along the way, and had no problem recommending hiring a capable newly graduated person. In the past 10 years, I've worked with literally 50 or 60 interns, in advisory, partially supervisory, or fully supervisory roles.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re: FWD.US lies, just like its founder, Zuckerberg (363 comments)

I would even go one step further: They can only hire an H1-B if they did not offer these jobs (and any training) to the 18,000 people laid off.

In other words, someone hacking on Office could be offered a job writing software for XBox with minimal re-training.

They aren't laying off Office hackers. The Office hackers are still employed, hacking Office.

They predominantly laid of former Nokia employees, who demonstrably were unable to produce products people wanted to buy.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:We just laid off a ton of people (363 comments)

That drives me crazy. Laying off thousands and then complaining they cannot get foreign workers. Talk about gall!

The don't want foreign workers, they just want someone who can do the job.

Why do you think someone who worked the last 15 years at an automotive assembly plant in Detroit, where their major skill set for the job was torquing down bolts on body panels on gas guzzlers designed by people with zero aesthetic sense, but who is now unemployed because no one wants the product of their labor, is magically capable of writing O(n log n) algorithms to sift through large amounts of data?

So it just happens to be that the unemployed American with no marketable skills is not the one they're going to hire for the job.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:"stashes its cash" (363 comments)

But just because you don't have the cash flow to make it worthwhile to do the same thing the companies are doing, doesn't make what the companies are doing illegal.

Correct. It makes it unethical.

I don't see how this follows, unless the laws themselves are unethical, since the laws themselves encourage the behaviour.

See Kant's Categorical Imperative on this. If you posit a behavioral norm that you can not simultaneously advocate equally applying to -everyone else-, it is not a rational stance, ethically.

Actually, the categorical imperative, of the first formulation, deals with morals, rather than ethics.

Ethics originate in the self, and are independent of morality. Morals originate in the imposition by society of behavioral mores (hence "morality") upon the individual, and while not always, generally result in punitive action by society, and are thus social tenets through threat and coercion. In a religious society, this may be the threat of hell; in a civil society, this may be the thread of fines, incarceration, corporal punishment up to and including death, etc..

In other words, we are ethical because we are wired that way, and we are moral under threat, unless a given more happens to coincide with one of our ethics.

The two concepts are often confused by amateur philosophers, since we tend, in English, to use the term "professional ethics" for what are in fact a set of morals (e.g. failure to follow codes of conduct for a lawyer can result in disbarrment, etc. - professional ethics are always backed by threat of punishment for misbehavior),

The fact "they" are incapable for practical reasons of reproducing your behavior, does not create an ethical exemption.

Leaving aside whether it would be an ethical or moral exception (if the former, it should be codified into law, so that it becomes a social more as well)...

Interpreting the term "universal law" in this fashion - which I believe is not how Kant intended it to be interpreted - leads very quickly to a reductio ad absurdum of the type Phillip K. Dick wrote in his "handicapper" story:

By this same argument, your ability to reproduce should be subservient to the ability of those who are sterile to reproduce, and therefore, it would be unethical for you to reproduce, if you could not offer that same ability to everyone else.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:"stashes its cash" (363 comments)

Your comment would have more value if Microsoft was actually being taxed on its overseas income somewhere but it is my understanding that they move all the money through Ireland and the Caribbean thereby avoiding any taxation. They are not being good US or world citizens. They take money from everywhere and pay a share of taxes nowhere.

This is actually incorrect. They pay a lower tax rate by doing this, they don't pay a zero tax rate. Depending on the corporate tax bracket, income tax is paid in Ireland at 25%, 12.5%, or 10%.

Then, because both it and Ireland are E.U. countries, the money is transferred to Belgium, which due to E.U. law does not have a tax applied on that transfer.

Then, due to treaty, it's transferred to the Bahamas, which like Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Central African Republic, Chile, Estonia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabi (if you're a Saudi), Sri Lanka, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and the British Virgin Islands, all have a 0% corporate income tax rate.

Note that the other 0% countries are less desirable than the Bahamas, due to political instability, less friendly banking laws, and citizenship requirements on corporate ownership (some), but they are all viable ways, through one treaty or another, of transferring money from Ireland, and then out of the E.U. at low/no cost to the corporation.

The transfer is usually in the form of intellectual property licensing fees, which is a legitimate business expense in Ireland, and also in Belgium, but can also be in terms of contracted management services/consulting fees as well.

Second choices from Ireland would be Bulgaria (10% corporate tax) and Gibralter (10% corporate tax), since they are both E.U. member countries, followed by Latvia and Lithuania (15% corporate tax), also E.U. member states.

Not that all of this is perfectly legal, and you could do it too, if you wanted, but you'd need a pretty substantial cash flow to justify the set up costs for the corporate mechanisms you'd need to put in place to establish the pipeline.

I keep waiting for some company to establish the pipeline for individual consultants, who incorporate in the Bahamas and incorporate in their home countries, and then the middleman company takes a 1-2% fee of transfers through the pipeline as a service fee for establishing the pipeline connection between John Doe, Inc., Bahamas and John Doe, Inc., France/UK/Germany/wherever.

But just because you don't have the cash flow to make it worthwhile to do the same thing the companies are doing, doesn't make what the companies are doing illegal.

If you don't like them paying less taxes by scrupulously following the rules, then change the rules, but don't bitch about them being better at following the rules to their benefit than you are at following the rules to your own personal benefit.

5 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

tlambert Re:"stashes its cash" (363 comments)

No one is arguing that. What the right wing argues is that the rich people are investing their money and not stuffing it in their mattress. So the theory is that if you whack them, they won't invest as much. I have yet to see a real analysis that proves or disproves this.

Logically speaking, wouldn't whacking all the rich people leave an economic investment vacuum? If so, wouldn't all the poor people move in to fill that vacuum by investing their money in place of the rich peoples money?

Oh wait, I'm starting to see the proof you are missing as somewhat self-evident...

5 days ago
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US Asks Universities To Flag Risky Pathogen Experiments

tlambert government is open to a "broader discussion" (38 comments)

Yes, we know that it pisses you off that we've put these 15 things onto the naughty list, and that you have to think in terms of weaponizing your research to cure cancer in order to know whether or not that research could be Used For Evil(tm), not that we'd ever take this list as a handy list of items to keep on hand for future nefarious purposes ourselves, because, after all, we're The Good Guys(tm).

To show that our heart's in the right place, we're open to discussion about expanding this list to even more things! See how not-evil we are?!?! What other things, besides these 15 do you think you could weaponize? Think out of the box, folks, we're here to help you!

5 days ago
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Russia Pledges To Go To the Moon

tlambert We choose to go to the moon... (197 comments)

"We choose to go to the moon in the next two decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they will take attention away from what's happening with the Ukraine." -- V. Putin

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

tlambert Re:That totally won't work. (471 comments)

Not all consulting entails selling. In fact, in any good consulting firm, you won't be doing any selling until you're near the top (e.g., Principal/Partner). You may not even get to present anything in front of the client until you have some experience under your belt -- as a new hire, the only client facing activity you'll do is take detailed notes.

This assumes getting hired into a lower level position in a larger consulting firm, rather than consulting on your own.

At which point they are back to exactly the same problem that they originally faced, which is getting hired for a job working for someone else. It doesn't matter whether that someone else hires them in order to farm them out to a third party, or hires them to do work in house, they are still facing the problem that they can't get hired in the first place because they are unable to sell themselves to a prospective employer.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

tlambert That totally won't work. (471 comments)

Motivation notwithstanding, I would also suggest that you consider consulting.

That totally won't work.

Consulting requires selling, and they've already demonstrated an inability to sell the one product that they're intimately familiar with, and that it's currently their *only* job to sell right now, which is themselves to an employer.

If you can't sell yourself to an employer, how much harder is it going to be to sell your services into the much smaller services market, if you are incapable of selling in the first place?

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

tlambert Re: Read Slashdot (471 comments)

This is coming from someone who has been in IT for 20 years, very successfully, and has never taken any computer courses...

The OP specifically stated "software development", not IT. Different field of endeavor.

about a week ago
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Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

tlambert Re:Hipsters are passe ... (277 comments)

Wait, I thought hipsters were the guys who liked the new things?

They liked the new things that coincided with their generation hitting their prime.

So, they'll like something any day now, then? We've kind of been waiting for them to hit their prime for a while now. I feel like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, I've been waiting so long for their generation to hit their prime...

about a week ago
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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Premieres On Linux, 2 Years After Windows

tlambert FINALLY! (93 comments)

FINALLY!

It's the "two years later" of the Linux desktop!

about a week ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

tlambert Comm specs matter (252 comments)

Comm specs matter.

It's kind of hard to use a GSM phone on a CDMA network, or vice versa. Internet dependence on EDGE vs. UTMS vs. LTE? Also kind of matters. 802.11a vs. 802.11n/g also kind of matters.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

tlambert Stan Lee! (182 comments)

They're mostly a waste of time anyway everyone just strokes their own egos and you spend 2 days digesting information in an archaic inefficient way

lecture style

But dude! He gets to meet Stan Lee! THE Stan Lee!

about a week ago
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

tlambert Re:Ageing can be seen as a treatable disease. (478 comments)

Global warming was caused by a simple thing: too damned many people consuming energy on this rock, and it gets worse every year.

I thought the cause was our unwillingness to reengineer the orbit of Earth to be a teensy bit further out. IT's not like we aren't going to have to do that anyway, as soon as the solar expansion phase starts in a bit...

about a week ago
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

tlambert Shhhhh! (478 comments)

why assume that one or the other would not be willing or wanting to do the other you listed?

Shhhhh! Quit challenging his political stereotypes! People over 75 get cranky when you do that...

about a week ago

Submissions

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It looks like Apple has started paying for product placement

tlambert tlambert writes  |  about 2 years ago

tlambert (566799) writes "From the well-that-didn't-take-long department:

It looks like Apple has gone back on their long-standing tradition of refusing to pay for product placement; at the end of the Hulu premiere episode for the television show "Deception" in which multiple Apple products appear, there is a clear statement in the credits: "promotional consideration furnished by APPLE". The statement occurs at time hash 44:49, 6 seconds before the end of the video."

Link to Original Source
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99 year old woman reading again on her new iPad

tlambert tlambert writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tlambert (566799) writes "This is a cute story (with video) about a 99 year old woman and her iPad. It's interesting because of the accessibility angle. After years with glaucoma, she's able to read books again due to a combination of font scaling and an adjustable backlight intensity, according to the article."
Link to Original Source

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