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Comment Re:Sad loss of a co-worker (Score 1) 882

I am disappointed to read posts that somehow infer that Srinivas' employment in the Olathe office was at the expense of a US resident getting a job. That is simply not true. There is a world wide shortage of skilled workers. We have two US employees in our Auckland office and no one here complains about them taking our jobs. We employee every skilled Kiwi we can find but the shortage means over half my team are from China and Taiwan. We welcome them as we need more skilled people to get keep our business competitive. None of the locals, such as myself, see these people as stealing our jobs.

It is the same in Olathe, they will employ any US citizen with suitable skills ahead of a foreign worker as it is less hassle but they can not get enough staff with right skills, in part because Garmin set the bar quite high when it comes to skill levels. I have meet people with a wide range of backgrounds in the US Garmin offices and have never seen even a hint of racism or sexism.

The US like Australia is a country of immigrants, and I support immigrants for reasons that are separate from my economic advantage. But I do think that immigrants take away jobs from Americans, particularly in technology.

Employment is cyclical. Up to about the 1980s, especially in technology, when there was an abundance of employees, employers used to hire the most qualified (often overqualified) worker. So a food company would hire a PhD to work in their chemistry labs. When there was a shortage of workers, they would hire lower-qualified workers. So the company would hire a technician with a college degree in chemistry, or even a smart high school graduate, and train him on the job. And they usually worked out pretty well. This was particularly striking during the World War II, when the US had the best job market we've seen in living memory.

Long after WWII, American corporations had training programs where they hired less skilled workers and trained them on the job. When corporations bought the first mainframe computers, they would often hire smart college graduates with degrees in mathematics or related field, or sometimes in unrelated fields, and train them on the job. For example, when New York City bought its first computers, they hired philosophy majors from City College, and trained them in programming, according to programmers I've talked to. Sometimes they just hired liberal arts graduates who seemed to have an affinity for math and logic. American corporations believed that training was the way to be profitable in the long run. (They also gladly paid taxes for public education to train their workers.)

By the 1990s, this had fallen out of favor. They abandoned the idea of training people on the job. They demanded specialized skills and workers who could "start immediately." We've seen complaints on Slashdot of how companies were looking not for a programmer, but for a programmer with 5 years of experience in software XYZ.

In my observation, there seemed to be two reasons for this. First, a lot of people were trained in the military, particularly the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Second, there were a lot of trained immigrants coming into the country, particularly Soviet immigrants who got an excellent education, often with advanced degrees (for example, Sergei Brin's parents).

If you believe that we have a free market, then you have to believe that employees will have more opportunities when unemployment is low and they are in greater demand (and vice versa). When employees are hard to get, employers will train less skilled workers. When they're easy to get, employers will demand PhDs.

It seems, from intuition and observation, that flooding the employment market with skilled workers will discourage employers from hiring and training less skilled workers. It seems that if American employers couldn't have gotten skilled workers from the Soviet Union, China, India, and elsewhere, they would have been forced to hire Americans and train them. And while immigrant workers are usually very skilled, they're doing work that American workers could also be trained to do if the job market forced employers to do so.

The original argument for free trade was that (1) free trade will create winners and losers. But (2) free trade is so efficient that we can compensate the losers and still come out ahead. I agree. If we had a Scandinavian-style safety net, with free or income-based education, housing, and health care, where unemployment is a paid vacation, I would welcome immigrants. Take my job. I'll go back to school. But the right wing took over, and as implemented, immigrants compete with me.

I'm not an economist, so I can't talk about this authoritatively, but that's the way it seems to have worked out. America was a different country 50 years ago. There was much more opportunity for anybody who wanted to work, particularly in technology (rather than McDonald's), and more job security. Now it's gone. The skilled blue-collar union workers, and their children, were the ones who took the biggest hit. Those were the complaints that Trump appealed to, unfortunately. And his solutions are xenophobic and fascistic.

Comment Re:"Police found Purinton 80 miles away at Applebe (Score 1) 882

Also, Europeans and Indian's language comes from common branch of human languages, "proto indo-european"

What's that got to do with anything?

It's important because the linguistic analysis that identified migrations and population groups disproves certain 19th century racial theories.

The Germans, for example, defined themselves as a "pure race," and claimed there was some benefit to maintaining that pure race against mixing with, for example, Jews or Negroes.

The study of migrations showed a history of constant mixing over thousands of years. This was confirmed by DNA analysis.

So the 3,500 year old Egdved girl who was celebrated as Denmark's national ancestor, turned out to have come from the Black Forest in Germany. And she traveled back and forth.

People often think of Grimm's fairy tales as German. But actually the same stories are translated from one European language to the next, in French, for example, or English. And there are older languages from medieval times that fill in the gaps between major European languages.

Put it all together and you get a picture of people traveling throughout Europe, and mating with each other, over thousands of years, after they left Africa. The aristocrats traveled quickly and the peasants traveled slowly (over generations). The Neanderthals mated with modern humans. This genetic mixture was probably good in terms of health, since inbreeding populations are more likely to have genetic diseases.

I haven 't studied the history of India, but my understanding is that the British colonials found a less hierarchic society and turned it into a more hierarchic society, on the model of certain British and European aristocratic ideas, which saw a great chain of being with protozoa on the bottom, animals in the middle, and British aristocrats (like themselves) near the top, right under the angels and God.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 2) 274

Although I give a strong weight to first-hand testimony, I get my information from Science magazine, New Scientist, and the New York Times. For example:
The Electronics Revolution: From E-Wonderland to E-Wasteland , Oladele A. Ogunseitan1,*, , Julie M. Schoenung2, , Jean-Daniel M. Saphores3 and , Andrew A. Shapiro4
Science 30 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5953, pp. 670-671
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176929

Since the mid-1990s, electronic waste (e-waste) has been recognized as the fastest-growing component of the solid-waste stream, as small consumer electronic products, such as cellular phones, have become ubiquitous in developed and developing countries (1). In the absence of adequate recycling policies, the small size, short useful life-span, and high costs of recycling these products mean they are routinely discarded without much concern for their adverse impacts on the environment and public health. These impacts occur throughout the product life cycle, from acquisition of raw materials (2) to manufacturing to disposal at the end of products' useful life.

This creates considerable toxicity risks worldwide (3, 4). For example, the mean concentration of lead in the blood of children living in Guiyu, China, a notorious destination for improper e-waste recycling (5), is 15.3 Âg/dl. There is no known safe level of exposure to lead; remedial action is recommended for children with levels above 10 Âg/dl (6). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers used as flame-retardants in electronics have been detected in alarming quantities (up to 4.1 ppm lipid weight) in California's peregrine falcon eggs, raising the specter of species endangerment (7, 8).

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 1) 274

SWEEEP Kuusakoski. Interesting. They claim they can separate lead and glass profitably. They could be right.

According to TFA, Closed Loop Recycling planned to buy a huge furnace to do just that. Maybe that was the company that made the furnace.

The problem for Closed Loop was that they needed a $16 million loan to buy the furnace, but the lender pulled out (although Closed Loop won a court case with the lender).

I didn't see the word "bankruptcy" in any of those stories. It may be that the cheapest and easiest solution to that mountain of TVs would be to keep Closed Loop going and finally buy a furnace to separate them the way they originally planned.

Or maybe they could ship their TV tubes to one of those European furnaces.

Comment Re:Question of bulk (Score 1) 274

A wastewater engineer once told me that it's a lot easier to purify water when you get the pollution at the source, and it's concentrated, than it is after it's dispersed. So it's easier and cheaper to purify sewage in a sewage treatment plant, than it is after it's been diluted in the Hudson River. It would have been easier and cheaper for General Electric to break down PCBs in their factory than it would be now after it's all in the Hudson River. They will probably never completely clean up the PCBs in the Hudson River. It would be too expensive, and it can be safer to leave it lying in the bottom of the river than to stir it up.

Same with solid waste, like electronic equipment. A few years ago I did a little research on it, and there was a German company that made a big scaled-up blender, with knives that could shred an entire computer or monitor, and I think there are industrial shredders that can shred entire cars. You can separate shredded materials with magnets, pneumatic devices, etc. The problem is cost. Even when they started with clean, separated equipment, it was still expensive, and it could only be profitable in certain circumstances. Copper and aluminum are valuable in commercially pure form, iron less so, and mixed plastics are a problem. Then you're left with shredded fiberboard. Popular Science had a good article about that (but there's lots written). So it can be done, with difficulty, in favorable situations, but the cost/benefit is tricky. When it works it's usually with the help of some kind of government-mandated financial incentive or disincentive. If there's a demand for these shredders, then with the years they should become cheaper and more efficient, but maybe that's my technological optimism talking.

It may be cheaper to mine aluminum and copper directly than to recover it from junk. That depends on whether mining technology improves faster than recycling technology.

But once you've mixed the electronic junk with garbage, paper, plastic, furniture, containers, etc., the difficulty of separating it goes up by orders of magnitude. You have to spend a lot of money just to get it back to where it was when it was collected by the recycling center.

I understand the argument that, "Given enough time, we can solve any problem." It sounds true in principle, but predictions of time are notoriously unreliable. Maybe someone will discover a nanotechnology that will make the copper and aluminum particles in dumps separate and march out like ants into collection bins.

I congratulate you on your optimism. Let me know in 20 years how it turns out.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 3, Insightful) 274

As TFA says, half of them go to abandoned warehouses in the US. The other half go to Africa and India where low-paid, unprotected workers burn off the insulation and plastic parts to get the copper. I've seen articles about this in the New Scientist and elsewhere.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 5, Insightful) 274

Besides, even a warehouse full of dead monitors that will basically just sit forever is still a way better scenario than having them polluting a landfill.

Landfills are designed to hold pollution for a long time. If they follow current environmental regulations, they're in a clay pit which is impermeable to any significant leakage. When they're filled, they're covered with a clay top which keeps the rain out. The main goal for leaded glass is to make sure they don't wind up in the drinking water. There are Roman trash heaps which have lasted undisturbed for 2,000 years.

There aren't too many warehouses that have survived 100 years.

Comment Re:UAW scam job (Score 1) 594

It also helps to have employees who aren't total morons. The UAW isn't necessarily needed. Most intelligent people would have razed hell after their first co-worker was injured. It never hurts to have OSHA on speed-dial, and any employer that disagrees with that statement is welcome to pay-me-unemployment-long-time.

Do you know more about workplace safety than I do? Have you ever called OSHA about a safety issue?

First, there are only 2,200 inspectors for 8 million worksites and 130 million workers, so -- to put it one way -- each inspector would have to visit 10 workplaces a day to have one inspection a year.

You can call OSHA, but that doesn't mean they'll show up that day -- or that year. It's simple arithmetic. They don't have the staff to investigate every complaint. They can only investigate the worst complaints, and the ones they can do something about.

That's due in part to cutbacks in conservative, usually Republican, federal and state administrations. I once read some studies by California OSHA on workplace fatalities, and talked to a California OSHA inspector. The studies were very good, and they identified the major causes of electrocutions, which weren't obvious. They saved lives. Then the series was discontinued, and I asked the inspector why. He said, "Ronald Reagan."

There are some industries, and some companies, with good safety records, and some with bad safety records.

The ones with good safety records, like the aircraft industry, or the nuclear power industry, had cooperation between government agencies, private employers, and unions. If you take one leg off that tripod, then you can't do as good a job.

Particularly in the coal mining industry, there were some employers who were just assholes and didn't care about employee safety. They get OSHA fines, they treat the fines as the cost of doing business, and they do a better job of concealing their safety violations. In those outfits, you need all the help you can get, including government agencies and unions, and even so, you'll have needless fatalities.

There are some people who just have an ideological opposition to unions. I can never convince them otherwise.

Comment Re:UAW scam job (Score 1) 594

No, that's not it. My point was in response to the AC.

He didn't believe the union organizer's complaint that there were safety problems at Tesla, because OSHA inspected the plant.

If your complaint is safety in the workplace, it helps to have OSHA inspectors. It also helps to have a union that is concerned about workplace safety.

I've never looked up Tesla's safety record, and I don't know whether they're acceptable, or whether they're better or worse than the rest of the industry. I only know that the AC's assumption was unwarranted.

Comment Re:Not what he said. (Score 1) 594

Ergonomics and on the job injury are dealt with by workers comp, and the company eventually has an incentive to address material issues, especially in California.

Have you ever filed a worker's comp case?

Fortunately, ProPublica has done a story on worker's comp.

In California, if you lose an arm, you get $190,000. How many readers here would be willing to lose an arm for $190,000?

Most of us would rather have an employer who does everything possible to prevent us from losing an arm in the first place. Failing that (and they often fail), we'd like to have a government agency inspecting the workplace, and a strong union, as backup.

Comment Re:Not what he said. (Score 1) 594

Yeah but anyone can join the union right? Its not like its a barrier to employment, so you can't look at someone who isn't currently in the union and say "well at least that guy can't take my job" because he can just join up.

That wouldn't happen. A union would never allow a company to replace expensive workers with cheaper foreign (or domestic) workers. For one thing, that would violate seniority rules. For another thing, union workers aren't stupid enough to let that happen, and unions give them a way of fighting it. Unions have gone on strike over that, even when there was a risk that the company would close down the plant.

Unions are ultimately run by elections, so unions are as good and bad as democracy. Your local congressmen and your local police department can also be pretty corrupt sometimes (or maybe most of the time). But overall, unions, for all their faults, generally protect workers' interests.

Comment Re:UAW scam job (Score 3, Informative) 594

"The hard, manual labor we put in to make Tesla successful is done at great risk to our bodies."

Tesla's plant is heavily automated so I find this unlikely. I also find it unlikely that OSHA has not inspected a 5,000 employee plant for safety and health hazardous issues given how OSHA operates, so this is a questionable statement.

Actually Tesla has failed inspections.
Tesla Motors Fined $89,000 For 7 Safety Violations Linked To Fremont Factory Incident

        “Tesla employees Jesus Navarro, Kevin Carter and Jorge Terrazas were taken to Valley Medical Center in San Jose with second- and third-degree burns. Carter and Terrazas have returned to work. Navarro, who had burns on his hands, stomach, hip, lower back and ankles, was hospitalized for 20 days and continues to recuperate at home.”

        “Cal-OSHA’s investigation found that Tesla failed to ensure that the low-pressure die casting machine was maintained in a safe operating condition and allowed its employees to operate the machine while the safety interlock was broken. It also found that the employees had not been properly trained regarding the hazards of the machine, and were not wearing the required eye and face protection.”

4/25/2014 Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont Fremont District Office
Serious – 6
General – 1
Violations - 7

  Citations were issued to Tesla Motors, Inc. for six Serious and one General violation. The employer did not conduct periodic inspections of use of a low pressure die casting machine, and allowed employees to continue using the machine after a safety interlock had been damaged, which resulted in injuries to three employees who were sprayed with molten metal. The employer failed to release the air pressure used to inject molten aluminum into molds before servicing, did not maintain the machine in safe operating condition and did not use a protective shield. The employer did not ensure that employees were trained in the hazards of using the machine, and did not ensure that employees used eye and face protection.

Comment Re:Regulations (Score 2) 62

If I were trying to get from West 43rd St. in Manhattan to West 23rd St. between 6 and 8pm (which I often am), there is no algorithm that can find an auto route which is optimal. Every avenue between those streets is stalled in bumper-to-bumper traffic jams. It's faster to walk. By adding more auto traffic, you extend the area of the traffic jams and the hours of the traffic jam. This isn't based on algorithms or theory, it's based the actual experience of New York area traffic over the last 70 years.

In midtown Manhattan, you can't transport more people by adding autos. We're already at (or past) the maximum. When you add more cars, you get bigger traffic jams. That's our experience. There are traffic engineers who study these things and have experience with them in the real world.

And the simple example -- if you like algorithms -- is the traffic accross the Hudson River tunnel. That's been proven theoretically and in real life.

If you know of any real published studies of traffic by engineers who actually work with traffic, I'd like to see them.

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