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Comment Entitlements (Score 1) 130

from the summary:

"A Brazilian judge ruled that a driver using the Uber ride-hailing app is an employee of the San Francisco-based company and is entitled to workers' benefits, adding to the global debate over labor rights for drivers on the platform...."

Did anyone notice the contradiction? The submitter reports a Brazilian judge requiring that mandatory entitlements be given to Uber drivers, then within the same sentence instead refers to "workers rights".

Entitlements are the opposite rights. An entitlement is prohibition of liberty; If the Uber driver is entitled to receive X dollars in compensation then the driver can not choose to work for less. A right is a grant of liberty; If I have the right to free speech then I can choose what to say without restriction.

Comment Re:They don't get it. (Score 1) 437


Which is exactly what you get when foreign engineering and design firms which operate from nations with permissive immigration for STEM talent outsource their low-wage manual labor jobs here for manufacture. What? You want those corporations and their profits to stay here? Forget that, you just walled off the vast international source of talent from domestic high-tech companies which need access to succeed.

Ceteris paribus, the most successful companies are those with the best access to resources, not those with the most limited access to resources. Labor is a resource.

Engineering and design work supports an umbrella of labor: managers, accountants, IT, safety, etc. If your company fails because misguided nationalists blocked access to engineering talent, then all those jobs go with it.

The nations which most successfully exploit the law of comparative advantage by allowing the most free exchange of goods and labor are the wealthiest nations. Walling yourself off because you believe that hoarding jobs and goods in your own country will make it richer is a certain formula for failure and poverty.

Comment Dead Ends (Score 2) 201

Highly variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar in combination with energy storage using batteries to balance out variations in both load and supply might well be the wave of the future. However, it seems unlikely that these Tesla battery packs, optimized as they are for use in automobiles and thus designed to meet standards for compactness, weight, and collision safety, are also optimal for grid energy storage, which has different requirements. Assembling grid-scale energy storage from individual cells is probably a technological dead-end and will be supplanted by flow batteries.


Comment Privacy? What privacy? (Score 1) 94

from the ./ summary:

But critics have questioned the privacy implications of such a system

Why? The proposal is to make border control more efficient and accurate; They already check to see who you are when you enter or leave the country and you are required to show ID. You have no privacy now. Next, you will continue to have no privacy but transiting the the border will be faster and terrorists and other criminals faking their identities will be more easily detected.

If you oppose a government policy, then change the law, don't handicap its enforcement. We end up with these wasteful compromises in democracies, where one group prevails and enacts a policy as law, while its opponents undermine it by weakening its enforcement. ("Don't Ask Don't Tell" being the perfect example, the treatment of speed limits in the U.S. a good one as well.) Not collectively rational behavior.

Comment Re:Suprised (Score 3, Interesting) 40

I didn't think 30mil was enough money to entice the expenditures of space exploration...

Well that is a fascinating aspect of these X prize competitions, that the total amount of money and effort invested by the competitors and the quality of the best work produced is far greater than what could be purchased with the award money.

There must be some interesting lessons in the sociology and economics of that effect and perhaps some useful insights for managers there too.

That kind of thing has been going on at least since Stephenson's Rocket won the Rainhill Trials in 1829.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 284

Good...the cesspool of political correctness is blowing up in their faces

While I don't agree with political correctness either (and do agree with what John Cleese says on the subject) , the Twitter problem is more general than that: Twitter's decision to police speech on their platform at all was the idiot move there. While their customers do reasonably want filters, those customers should be able to collectively create and individually select those filters, or none at all. Consider in comparison the Slashdot rating system: it is primitive and flawed, but its is the right kind of approach and more-or-less sort of works to permit free speech while de-emphasizing crap. The Slashdot editors censor and some great points get modded down by unfair moderators, but usually the better posts do percolate to the top.

Milo Yiannopoulos has made the point that Twitter's most controversial posters are also its biggest draws, so that therefore banning them is stupid for the platform and stupid for business. He's predicted its financial decline on that basis since he was banned on Twitter in July. Twitter stock has mostly hovered under $20/share since, so not down, but not the growth they need.

Comment It's a good test of skill (Score 2) 715

Russia's influence on the recent U.S. Presidential contest further legitimized the electoral outcome. Because Russia is a potent adversary, confronting it during the campaign as a candidate made the electoral competition a better test, one more representative of the winner's subsequent and challenging work in international relations. Hillary Clinton failed that test abysmally by surrounded herself with incompetent sycophants who fell for the stupidest of phishing scams, by her having engaged in such scandalous conduct for so many years that the leaks were significantly damaging, and by relying on such a thin veil of secrecy to conceal her dishonesty; Information wants to be free and those million-dollar speeches to Wall Street bankers were getting out one way or another.

It is backwards to assert that her evident ineptitude in protecting herself from the hacking and leaks which exposed her corruption recommends her for the office of U.S. President. On the contrary, getting owned by Russia in a presidential campaign is a good indication that the United States would have lost big to Russia in any subsequent foreign relations dispute with her as President.

Comment Return the 1920's (Score 3, Interesting) 488

After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life. Of course, the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence, but we are compelled to recognize it as a means to well-nigh every desirable achievement. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it...But it calls for additional effort to avoid even the appearance of the evil of selfishness. In every worthy profession, of course, there will always be a minority who will appeal to the baser instinct. There always have been, probably always will be, some who will feel that their own temporary interest may be furthered by betraying the interest of others.

--Calvin Coolidge


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