In Düsseldorf, A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car
The basic idea has been around for a while now, in a number of countries besides Germany. And it has less to do with laziness or luxury, and more to do with maximizing the use of valuable space in areas of high urban density. The only thing that appears to be novel here is the use of a free-moving robot rather than a conveyance that is incorporated into the parking structure itself. Granted, there are other benefits as well--being able to retrieve your car rapidly and efficiently reduces parking structure congestion and environmental pollution from excessive idling.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception
This is EXACTLY CORRECT.
Health benefits are just that--benefits included as an integral part of an employee's compensation for work performed in service to that company. The employee earns it. It's not charity, and it's not the employer who is paying for the coverage in the sense that the salary for a non-compensated employee would need to be commensurately higher to offset the cost of that employee having to purchase their own insurance. While it is not regarded as taxable income, health benefits are EARNED. It is therefore the employee's constitutional right to have the coverage they have worked for. It isn't a fucking Christian charity that Hobby Lobby thinks it's running, no matter what their greedy asses think they're doing.
Their win is not the least bit surprising: the SCOTUS has long since been run by religious and corporatist ideologues like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito. These dinosaurs need to die off because their hypocritical and self-serving opinions have nothing to do with fact or actual law. Corporations do not have a right to force its employees to use the benefits they rightfully earned with their hard work in only the ways their owners approve. I don't see Hobby Lobby screening every dollar of profit they earn to make sure it wasn't touched by someone who used contraception. They'll gladly take anyone's money.
And the dumbest thing of all is that the form of contraception they are opposed to has been repeatedly shown in scientific studies to not be an abortifacient, but much like the opposition to evidence regarding climate change, their religion-addled minds refuse to accept facts over propaganda. So they are discriminating and imposing their own mistaken beliefs not because there is any evidence that the actual substance of that belief has any merit, but simply because they personally believe these pills are killing unborn babies. More embryos miscarry every year of their own accord than are prevented from implanting by someone taking such contraception. And the Supreme Court's reasoning basically amounts to saying that a company has a right to dictate that the only medical benefits they want to offer its employees is leeches and trepanation.
Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them
I find it rather strange that you are inferring that Krugman's proposal is merely liberal wishful thinking, or "promoting a liberal agenda," when there are numerous fiscal conservatives who would love nothing more than to level the playing field with respect to domestic versus foreign manufacturing. The dirty little secret, though, is that those fiscal conservatives are the blue-collar workers who've been squeezed out of jobs, not the ones who actually run the GOP political machine. The latter are what we might think of as corporate fat cats, ultra-wealthy investors, and the already-made men, for whom the consequences of globalization and foreign investment have been a windfall, rather than the ideologues living in Midwest states and the Bible Belt who buy the GOP "fiscal conservative" propaganda so easily that they are led to vote against their own immediate economic interests.
So, one must be led to wonder how such a proposal could even be branded "liberal" or "conservative" at all--unless by "conservative," one only means "creating wealth by manipulating the market," rather than "honest pay for honest labor."
Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work
As someone who also has an actuarial background, the funniest thing about this sort of tangled code is that, in the mind of the analyst who wrote it, the intent was probably to do something relatively simple. Actuarial spreadsheets are some of the most convoluted things I've ever seen done in Excel.
Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video
Let's see if the Galaxy Note 3 can:
1. Record usable, relatively noise-free video at EV -2
2. Use f/1.2 lenses
3. Record at effective focal lengths wider than 24mm or longer than 85mm...how about video at 300/2.8 or 600/4?
4. Use varifocal lenses of any kind, let alone a parfocal lens
I mean, this is silly. Under a very limited subset of possible shooting conditions and configurations, you *might* be able to get comparable output, but this has no bearing on the fact that if you're using a $3000 DSLR to shoot video, you're not merely some Android fanboy taking selfies of yourself beating off in your parents' basement. You're looking at using it with cine lenses or even just EF lenses like the 24/1.4L II, 35/1.4L, 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L II, 135/2L, 200/2L IS, or 300/2.8L IS II (if you're addicted to primes). Or Zeiss if that's your poison. Good luck with mounting a 55/1.4 Otus to that Galaxy Note.
Siphons Work Due To Gravity, Not Atmospheric Pressure: Now With Peer Review
I know you know this, but just to be sure no one else gets confused: A causes B and A causes C does not imply that B causes C. So for instance falling rocks are also caused by gravity but they don't have anything to do with siphons.
L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects
This is about office politics. The administration at his school has decided to make an example out of him, and they're using these science experiments as an excuse to make his life miserable. That's what this is really about. He doesn't toe the line, so someone with power has decided to exert their authority.
To make this about gun politics is as equally absurd as to say that we should stop kids from eating any food because there's an obesity epidemic. These science projects are no more related to actual firearms than the gas stove in your kitchen is related to a nuclear bomb. The only plausible explanation for this situation is that Schiller dared to butt heads with some administrator, and this is payback.
San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained
It's not quite so simple as supply and demand, however. The problem is that if you flood the market with more housing given the current price levels and demand, prices would take a LONG time to head back down once the demand is met (and that's assuming that the demand is ever met at all). Simply put, there's just so much existing scarcity that even massive amounts of new development would only serve to blunt the increasing trend in housing cost, rather than actually hoping to bring it down.
That's not to say development is not part of the solution--it absolutely, absolutely is--it's just that the current state of affairs is so entirely fucked up, and has been allowed to persist for so long, that what you'll see if you open the floodgates of new development is that in the short term, you get all the negative consequences (gentrification, displacement) while serving only the ultra rich who can afford those new housing units, but none of the long-term, aggregate benefits of lower housing costs that are decades down the line.
Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code
I'd like to interpret Bloomberg's statement to mean that it isn't realistic (or even desirable) to expect every blue-collar worker to be able to retrain in a highly technical field. Sure, some would be able to make that transition, but it's like asking programmers if they would have the desire to become physicians. It's not that people aren't smart or dedicated enough to do it, so much as it is the idea that a career in the tech sector is not some universal solution to everyone's job woes.
I also think that people who advocate such statements (very often, they are CEOs of tech companies) tend to have ulterior motives: they want to be able to pay their workers less money for more (and higher quality) output. While you might not blame them for having such a goal, I find it disingenuous how they wrap this desire up in some feel-good, altruistic sounding wish for more coders, more people to learn programming and computer skills, as if this is something that will create jobs. It doesn't work that way. Instead, it increases competition for existing jobs. These companies keep complaining about how there aren't enough skilled workers to fill the positions they have, but what they really mean is that there aren't enough *CHEAP* skilled workers. That's why they push this propaganda about H1B, teaching programming to kids, and fantasies about coal miners taking off their hardhats and learning Python and C#.
SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals
Or even better, a furry militant lesbian. Or militant lesbian furry. The difference is subtle but not trivial.
Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad
Fundamentally, I see this as a security issue. If the deceased wanted someone to have the data on the iPad, she should have provided the means to have access to that data. You can't just bequeath it in a will and then expect everyone else to sort it out after you're gone. That's inconsiderate.
It's also hypocritical to hold a company up to high standards for maintaining security and user privacy, and then at the same time blame them for not just rolling over and handing over the means to decrypt that information. It's not Apple's responsibility to give the family that ability, but the owner of that content. If I have years of personal photos that I've encrypted and bequeathed to someone, I'm sure as hell not going to just say, "here, you get this hard drive full of encrypted memories, but good luck decrypting it--I'm taking the decryption keys to my grave." That's stupid.
Even if Apple can unlock that data and eventually does so, think about how that might look to some people, who would NOT want their heirs/family/descendants to have the means to rummage through their personal data. You see this happen all the time--families of the deceased try to weasel their way into secrets and intimate histories of those who died. If all it might take is some lawyers and potentially dubious documentation to get around a dead person's privacy, then I would think twice about leaving any personal data behind.
Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft
It is exceedingly rare for a post to be both funny and insightful at the same time.
Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration
Gives a new meaning to "race condition," doesn't it?
Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation
Grading on a curve is no different than stack ranking in the workplace. Why are so many of you advocating for the former when the latter is so universally reviled? Is it because with stack ranking, we're talking about livelihoods and money?
The way to fix grade inflation is to fix society's expectations of GPA and the meaning of grades themselves. That includes the way corporations view academic credentials and transcripts. If you want honest assessment of a student's performance, then start by fixing your own biases and unrealistic expectations that the only qualified candidates should have a 4.0 GPA, 2 PhDs, 3 MS degrees, have been published in at least a dozen research journals in their field, wrote their own operating system from scratch, and is a 3-time Ironman champion...just to be hired for some low-level QA assistant job. Unless of course you're an H1B from India, in which case the triathlete is now "overqualified."
I think that's the real dirty secret everyone knows but nobody is willing to acknowledge. The fact is, grades were lower in the 50s and 60s because people STILL GOT HIRED, and competition was not as fierce as it is today. Everyone knows that GPA these days doesn't reflect true ability or learning, but instead, how well you know how to game the system, which is exactly what corporate America wants anyway--just look at what they teach in all the MBA mills. Those are your future bosses, middle managers, executives. All ambition and buzzwords, but no substance; driving business decisions that treat the engineers, developers, scientists, and in general anyone who actually KNOWS anything...like slaves.
So, you want to fix the system by adjusting GPAs? Fix the way GPAs are used as a stick to beat qualified job applicants with, and then we can talk.
US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"
Fine the relevant agencies 100 billion dollars. It would all be for naught anyway--it comes out of the taxpayer's wallet, and nothing gets changed in terms of policy. That's the problem with government agencies: when there is political support for their mandate, even if they are guilty of egregious overreach in their authority, they can waste unlimited amounts of money without being held accountable.
Now, if instead the politicians' and employees own personal bank accounts were to be emptied every time the public deems they have done something wrong, THAT would change Washington overnight in a heartbeat. But who is the "public?" How do we hold these power-hungry thieves accountable? By "elections?"
Justine Sacco, Internet Justice, and the Dangers of a Righteous Mob
Ms. Sacco deserved everything she got. Nothing more, nothing less. If you do something so overwhelmingly and obviously stupid as what she did, and then compounded that stupidity by getting on a plane and going offline for several hours, what do you expect is going to happen? The author of the article is just trying to twist this sordid tale into some kind of cautionary example of the excesses of "internet justice." Meanwhile, kids are killing themselves because they're being bullied for doing nothing other than being themselves. Where's the author's outrage over that? Ms. Sacco neither has the excuse of being a child, nor the defense of having done nothing to offend. If you do something so stupid that NOBODY is willing to defend it, then why should she not suffer the consequences? One should also consider that the kind of people who would even entertain making such offensive remarks in a public forum are not the kind of people who are so easily shamed. They tend to be sociopaths who end up hardening their self-image in response to the outrage. Don't weep for the likes of her.
French Team Implants First Long-Term Artificial Heart
Now I can finally realize my dream of faithfully reenacting having a Nausicaan skewer me through the back in a bar fight...although I'm not sure I'll have the presence of mind to laugh deliriously afterward.
Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo Form Alliance Against NSA
Policy-wise, nothing really gets done in the US without the implicit consent of corporate power. This applies even to things like spying. The government is run by the wealthy elite and therefore the policies are designed to favor their interests. Where those interests may conflict, it is usually the entity with the greater influence or better connections that gets their way.
This latter point is where we stand with regard to warrantless domestic surveillance of US citizens by the NSA. The eight companies that have "allied" against this practice, albeit influential as a group, have been for the most part self-interested competitors, and many of them make no attempt to hide the fact that they run a business model that is predicated upon mining personal data from its users in order to sell advertising (Google and Facebook being the most notable examples).
However, that is not to say that they actively or "happily" collaborated with the NSA. The legal requirements, as far as we have been apprised of them, force their cooperation. It is not logical to assume that just because their business involves exploiting their users, that they would not object to NSA surveillance, because the latter does have a deleterious effect on the former. If users suddenly feel paranoid because they think these companies are (willingly or unwillingly) handing over their personal information to the government, then they would be more reluctant to share that data by posting it online. The fear of surveillance brings about increased awareness of the need for protecting one's privacy, which of course is NOT what these companies want. That is the essential argument behind their opposition.
In any case, these companies are merely the repositories for end-user information. The real culprits here, the ones who ARE happily handing over information to the government, are the telecommunications companies, notably AT&T. They are the ones who let the NSA install listening devices on their networks. And you will note that these companies have NOT banded together to protest this illegal surveillance program. They don't see any need to, because they have too much power (since the entire internet is reliant on them) and, unlike Google and Facebook, they have no incentive to protect the data that flows through their networks. If a subscriber doesn't want to share personal information about themselves to a social network, they can opt out of doing so, and the result is a loss of valuable data for the company that operates that network. But it is MUCH harder to completely forgo the internet entirely, which is what you would have to do in order to avoid having AT&T send your data to the NSA. And AT&T doesn't make their money off selling your personal information to advertisers. They make it off your basic need for connectivity.
Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad
How do we know what would happen? As far as I am aware, euthanasia in the form of assisted suicide is not legal except in a few US states and in Switzerland.
But before we answer that question, for the time being, let's put aside what is going on in jurisdictions where such practices are legal.
I look at what is actually happening because of the current legal situation, and as is evidenced by Scott Adams' experience, there is clear proof of harm by prohibiting assisted suicide. There are many other people out there who share similar painful experiences, whose loved one died in protracted suffering, agony, and pain; who did express wishes to not be forced to live in such circumstances, but for physical reasons, could not terminate their own lives, and for legal reasons, were not allowed to delegate that responsibility to others.
I would consider the addressing of a real and surprisingly common injury to have more merit than a hypothetical or perceived injury. The fact is, these terminally ill individuals are going to die; it is simply a matter of how and when that death should occur, and the individual right to self-determination of that fact.
Now, let's look at what is actually happening with assisted suicide in those jurisdictions for which it is legal. Are bedridden Swiss people suddenly pulling the plug in droves? Is their society collapsing under the collective weight of some Alpine-induced ennui? Are there death panels of doctors killing patients in Washington? Were you even aware that these places allow assisted suicide because there have been reports of the unethical application of this practice? Were there news reports that someone was mistakenly killed off even though they would have lived, and the doctor used the legality of assisted suicide as a legal defense? Because unlike what you are imagining in your head, those fears have not come to fruition. You never actually state what those "things" and consequences are.
And as I have already pointed out, even if those imagined consequences were real, they would need to be weighed against the ACTUAL consequences of the status quo.
Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad
No, I don't think he needs to dial it back. He is right, because it is only when we experience such things first-hand that we realize the truth. That is why he says what he says. When someone makes such a radical statement, don't just take it literally. Try to understand the context, and try to appreciate the underlying meaning.
Those who oppose euthanasia are people who either (a) have dogmatic reasons for doing so (e.g., religion), or (b) have never witnessed a loved one go through a protracted and painful terminal illness. They aren't able to comprehend because they live a comfortable life and cannot imagine what it is like to be terminally ill and incapacitated.
This is about the right to self-determination. It is about being able to have one's wishes respected after all self-control is lost. It is about the right to choose for oneself, as opposed to allowing the ideologies of others (complete strangers whose beliefs may have no bearing on your own) to legally prohibit you to make that choice because to them, it is about THEIR own abstract, moral discomfort, and not your own, REAL pain.
I would not want such a thing for myself. But that's a decision I'm making now, in good health. Personally, I'd rather be made into a popsicle. Freeze me and thaw me out like a cheap TV dinner when mankind figures out how to cure what ails me. However, I absolutely would not stand in the way of someone else's decision. Who am I to decree what is right and wrong for other people? What gives me the moral right to claim that I know better than the family that is going through such a difficult time?