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Comment Re:reactions were mixed (Score 1) 140

I've read a story somewhere about the manager of an engineering department dealing with critical systems at NASA during the space race. He imposed 9 to 5 work days, as part of his plan to promote a healthy routine. He noticed that overwork leads to mistakes and that nullifies any productivity gain made during extra hours.

It is absolutely true. For work in the trades (machinists, welders, etc), we see the majority of accidents occurring in the final 2 hours of a 12 hour shift. It is naive to think that white collar people don't suffer from fatigue too. The CDC even hosts a study titled "Overtime and Extended Work Shifts: Recent (not so recent now) Findings on Illnesses, Injuries, and Health Behaviors" showing that there may be profound effects on the long-term health of workers as well.

Comment Re:Only? (Score 1) 140

The Japanese put in a lot of hours, but not much of that is "working". Japan's productivity is only 60% of America's. There is a social taboo to leave work before your boss, so people stay late and surf the web. The bosses are promoted based on seniority rather than ability, and are often incompetent with no incentive to take the initiative on more enlightened working conditions. It is better to just stick to prevailing social conventions and keep a low profile.

America: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Japan: The nail that sticks up will be hammered back down.

I have worked in Japanese companies for almost 8 years in total, 7 months of which was in Japan. Everything in your post is true except "so people stay late and surf the web". This is not my experience. In my experience, people stay late and do NOT surf the web. The open floor plan in most Japanese offices makes goofing off unnoticed nearly impossible.

Some people are doing productive work, but slowly. Others were doing unproductive work (again, slowly). Others take frequent visits to other people in different departments. Meetings which require 2-3 people but 8 people are invited also help run up the man hours. Surfing the web for non-work reasons was strictly during lunch hours and breaks, I never saw it.

Comment Re:Redefining words so we can make a "discovery" (Score 1) 142

A Continent is a landmass, not a slightly shallower section of ocean.

There is no clear, universally agreed definition of what a continent is. Australia was an island not long ago - and Europe is a different continent from Asia, which is absurd, in terms of geography.

And where is the line Europe/Asia? Most maps include all of Russia as part of Asia. Some maps draw a line through Russia. My kids even have a geography book that shows Russia as being wholly in Europe.

Comment Re:Death To All Jews (Score 1) 920

Corporations being corporations with their policies... fine, whatever. Allegedly reputable news organizations characterizing that video as "anti-semitic" is something else entirely. Anyone watching the end sequence of that video who goes on to describe it as anti-semitic either does not understand human emotion or is deliberately lying. If that video proves PewDiePie is anti-semitic, then John Cleese, Mel Brooks, Jon Stewart, and dozens of other comedy legends are also anti-semitic, including the political and the largely apolitical.

The anti-semetic angle is just the icing on the cake. The main offense here is taking advantage of poor people, making them do awful things for low pay, making fun of those people for hesitating to do the task, and then making fun of them again for doing the task. Considering the man's immense wealth, it's classic villain behavior. This doesn't fit into a headline neatly, however.

Comment Re:Not about the free market (Score 1) 920

Submitter here. And the gloves are off, FYI. This is a bizarre little trick, apparently some weird leftover piece of Cold War propaganda, that any time a topic has anything to do with the free market you can point that out and a significant minority of people will believe you've just "won" the discussion and will mod you up, even if you're rambling irrelevant drivel. (It works on Reddit, too.) Congratulations, Disney and Youtube are legally free to do as they choose. No, the first amendment doesn't constrain them. Are we done with the kindergarten version of Civics now? There appears to be widespread *lying* about the nature of the videos in question, characterizations that are so brazen as to be actual lies by mainstream media organizations like the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The Independent, etc. This is on top of the WSJ actually going out of their way to get PewDiePie "fired" by mining and editing his content and then sending it directly (from my understanding) to Disney. I think that alone is all worth talking about. If dishonest and manipulative newspapers don't interest you at all, well there's the door. Bye. But there's even more: to the extent that companies like Youtube and Disney are being pressured by asshats writing letters and threatening boycotts, I'd even go so far as to say it's worth discussing trying to pressure them in the opposite direction. Not because I'm a huge PewDiePie fan (I'm not; I've watched only a few of his videos), but because the internet is being dominated by a small group of companies and it's worth a little effort to push back now, while we still can, and inform them that free speech for their platform (not just our constitution) is what we actually want. Just listen to this smug shit coming out of the WSJ and put that in the context of the thousands of Youtubers trying to figure out Youtube's uncodified content policy so their videos won't be de-monetized. Put that in the contest of the millions of Youtube users who just want their favorite hosts to be able to speak their mind uncensored. The WSJ doesn't care about all of that. They only care about media giants being able to dictate acceptable content with an iron fist. Does that violate the first amendment? Again, no. Is this capitalism at work? Again, yes. You're such a good, smart little anti-Communist for reminding us of these things! But us talking about it and getting a bit pissed about it and wondering aloud if there's any way to pull the brake on this shitshow before it gets any worse is also capitalism at work. If that's a conversation that doesn't interest you--there's the door. Vote with your feet, citizen.

There will always be the internet equivalent of a town soapbox where any fool can say anything they like. And certainly the people who own a soapbox in Time Square, and pay people to speak there, have a right to fire such people for any reason they choose. This fool has run his course, and joked about things which society agrees must not be joked about. If he is a good fool, he will find another soapbox. If not, he should consider himself lucky to have made millions playing a fool.

Comment Re:Gartner, enough said (Score 1) 91

Nobody except Gartner believes most of what they predict anyway. Did anyone really think that Microsofts n-th attempt to make a phone OS would be any more successful than the previous ones?

One has to admit the possibility is there. Smartphones have already displaced standalone GPS devices and the majority of consumer cameras. Current smartphones are powerful enough to be most people's computer, TV media frontend, etc. Most personal computers still run Windows. If Microsoft could displace TV set top boxes and computers using a phone-sized device, they could potentially be very successful. Granted, that's a big "if", but it could be done if they got their product development and marketing wagons circled correctly.

Comment Re:Uses CDMA. Do not want. (Score 2) 84

Maybe things have changed but Sprint at least used to make it impossible to bring non-sprint phones to their network.

If that's still the case, change your "Psst" to "Pffft" and keep walking.

This could be because Spring uses LTE bands that basically nobody else uses. It then depends on your phone model supporting those bands. It may have nothing to do with Sprint being evil, and more to do with the fact that their frequency allocation is different from everyone else.

Comment Re:Less favorable lending rates? (Score 1) 490

Most of the stuff mentioned I can agree with. But less favorable lending rates? Only a Millennial ignorant of history would think that. Mortgage interest rates are the lowest they've been in 60 years. My generation (gen-x) had to deal with mortgage interest rates double what they are today. My parents had to deal with 17% interest rates. You have to go all the way back to 1955 to see interest rates as favorable as they are today. With a 4% interest rate on a 30 year mortgage, 42% of your payments over the life of the loan are interest. With a 8% interest rate, 62% of your payments are interest. With a 17% interest rate, 81% of your payments are interest. For just about anyone alive today, there has never been a better time to get a mortgage to buy a home.

As a former homeowner and current renter, I completely agree. There has never been a better time to get a mortgage to buy a home.

On the other hand, as someone who has done 4 cross-country moves in the last 10 years, and is considering a 5th, buying a home is not attractive to me- yet. I am still homing in on the place I want to live the rest of my life, and taking full advantage of the fact that a willingness to move physically translates into upwards career mobility.

I am telling myself that a 5th move would be "the last for a while" but this may just be a lie I tell myself. Being a homeowner seems to be in conflict with either my personality or the employment environment that currently exists.

Comment Re:having kids is dumb (Score 4, Insightful) 490

Being married does not save on taxes.

Not by itself, but there are plenty of opportunities for tax savings, such as-
Low-income + high income salary averaging out to a slightly lower tax rate overall
Low-income partner can take more advantage of Roth retirement plans, maxxing out their plan (up to either the maximum yearly limits, or their own salary, whichever is less).
1 tax return instead of 2, savings on filing costs and time
Transfer of assets tax-free upon the death of one partner in 99% of cases
Benefit shopping between 2 employers, can be used to lower taxes in some cases etc

Comment Re:AD shaming (Score 1) 172

I always thought it was interesting that you can mention another product by name in a TV spot here in America. It is actually illegal in some other countries. You can't name a competitor directly. So most of the time you are left with references to a white box with a generic label like"Product X" or similar. The way they talk about it though, usually makes it clear which other company they are referring to. American advertisers do not have to go through such a loophole.

I don't believe there is any law, just a fear of lawsuits. It is risky but it depends on the context. Presumably Superbowl ads are vetted by an entire team of lawyers.

IIRC, one of the ads was along the lines of "99% of the coverage for significantly less cost". Hard for Verizon to find an argument worth litigating there. The difficult thing to prove (which network is superior) is admitted to be an advantage to Verizon. The claim is on the easier thing to prove (price). If Verizon litigated, they either be arguing that their network was inferior to the competition, or arguing an easy to check fact (price).

Comment Re:Most interesting nugget buried at end of story (Score 1) 109

I thought this was the most interesting thing from the whole article:

The research team was surprised to find barley in the ancient Chinese beer as barley had not become a staple crop for another 3,000 years.

Think about someone making beer but the ingredients not really catching on in a big way for three thousand years!

Or maybe the estimate of when barley because a staple crop is way off.

Depends on what they mean by "barley". Corn and watermelon are unrecognizable compared to what they were just 200 years ago. This is mostly related to good old fashioned selective breeding. 3,000 years is a very long time in agricultural terms.

Comment Re:Chine did something original? (Score 1) 109

When the epitaph of the United States is written, this is what it will say: "America: Killed by landing on the Moon." After that Americans simply can't believe anyone else in the world can do anything better than we can. We must have the best cell phone networks, the best healthcare system, and, even though we despise it, the best education system. We'd never look at what countries that are beating us in education are doing. If they're beating us they must be cheating; the system must be rigged.

Alternatively, 1969 was 24 years after the end of the Second World War. It would be reasonable to assume that it took at least that long for all the destroyed industrial capacity across Asia and Europe to be rebuilt.

Comment Re:Also the world's most effective government? (Score 1) 131

P.S. I'm still expecting the Chinese to invade North Korea and Taiwan this spring. Opportunity beckons, this offer expires soon, and so they are going to make the Donald an offer he can't refuse... The Art of War versus The Art of the Deal .

This wouldn't make much sense. North Korea certainly causes China no end of headaches, but if China invaded them, it would ratchet up tensions in the DMZ even higher, they would gain a major humanitarian problem, and not much else. North Korea makes a great buffer zone between China and western-style democracy. It is in everyone's best interest that the current borders remain as-is.

The only issue is whether North Korea should be recognized as a nuclear power or not, and the related question of whether sanctions should continue. If they are recognized as a nuclear power (which they arguably are), sanctions to prevent that from occurring don't make sense on that argument. However, there is the greater goal of keeping the country in squalor so that neither China nor the West wants to take it over. If either side were to take over North Korea, we would be looking at a possible resumption of the Korean war.

Comment Re:Western Digital Still in Business? (Score 1) 78

WD has been buying up SSD companies

They've also got a lot of more traditional stuff too - I believe WD bought over Toshiba's 3.5" hard drive business, and they also bought over Toshiba's NAND flash business very recently (a few weeks ago). (Remember, Toshiba invented NAND flash).

Not sure what happens to OCZ, Sandisk, or DiskOnChip, the first Toshiba bought to have their line of SSDs, the second Toshiba acquired cheaply (Sandisk used Toshiba NAND anyways), and ditto DiskOnChip.

This has a lot less to do with WD going shopping and more to do with Toshiba's financial problems leading to a yard sale.

Comment Re:Majority of college cost is not for education (Score 1) 537

Long ago, college dorms were more like Army barracks. Now they are private apartments. Food was served in a cafeteria, and you ate what they had today. Now they are more like food courts, and require far more staff. Students expect this kind of service, and if a school doesn't upgrade, they lose students to schools that do. It's overhead that has risen the cost of education, not the cost of professors. The difference in equipment and classrooms between engineering and liberal arts is small compared to the school environment costs.

This is still the case at some schools. You just have to choose based on $/educational benefit. This criteria is not considered by most high school students.

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