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Comment Re:teaching to the test (Score 1) 157

This is really the case where I have a hard time grasping the test.

It's the automotive sector. Relative to the size of the market, there really aren't that many cars to test.

People are already aware or should be aware that the EPA results don't match to real world driving conditions.

Why not just do what many car magazines or journalists do. Take the car for a test run of mixed highway and city driving and report the results. You can have some baseline weather conditions for the test. You can have some training for the EPA staff to help make sure they drive the same.

Heck, if they want, publish both. The standard EPA test and the test run.

The results would be much more useful regulation.

Comment Re:Trump's Failure (Score 1) 430

It's a very interesting social thought experiment. With all the fact-checkers and lying counts, I think a lot of it is missing one key thing.

The best way I can relate it is to talk of people I actually know. I have a friend and in the group we all know he is a great exaggerator and troll. If he's telling a story, you known 80% of it would not pass a fact-check. Heck he'll put on a show in front of the guys how he can't do this or that cause his wife won't let him. Thing is, a few of us know his wife doesn't mind him doing half the things. He just uses his wife as an excuse to not do things he doesn't want to do in the first place, but he has to keep up appearances. In a sense, you know what you're expecting from him. The thing is though you do know his general outlook on life. You can't take him for every word he says, but you basically know his direction in life. He is there if you need him. He is pretty reliable and hard working. Earlier in my life, I used to get pretty angry about his ways, until I learned to accept 80% of public face is a show.

I think a lot of people view Trump like this. Build a wall... no one thinks he is actually going to build a wall, but he will address it when no one else is. Trade wars... he isn't going to tear apart every trade deal, but he'll look into them and make new ones that make more sense to his supporters..

I don't know Trump well enough to know what he will do in action, but I can see how people think that of him.

Other politicians are a bit more of an unknown and even if they technically might 'lie' less, you might actually trust them less as you don't know what to expect.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Identity politics is here and has been everywhere. However, it doesn't last long.

I was born in South Africa. I lived under apartheid and left before it ended. Anyways, when Mandela came in, so many people thought it would solve their problems. I mean, now we have a black leader representing black interests... so our problems would be solved.

Except it didn't for most people. I've been back a few times and most people are almost beyond identity politics there. They just want good leadership.

You see the same thing in America. Obama was elected... and really what changed with African Americans? Nothing. His crowning achievement wasn't jobs mega jobs plan to fix the inner cities. It was a healthcare plan.

Women will also find the same thing. I'd argue many have. They vote for some female politicians and find out... most are no different from male politicians. Once they get over the initial hump.

Trump won because he was the one claiming to be on their side. The working class people. You can debate if he meant it or not. But Hilary didn't give a rats behind about them. Going so far as to calling half of them irredeemable or something like that.

I don't care how smart or qualified you are, if you aren't on a person's side... you don't deserve their vote. Representing them is the most basic qualification.

I was looking at some results on CNN and I think they were showing how Trump got more of the african-american/hispanic vote, which is than Romney. People care a lot about jobs and their life. Identity politics can get you far, but only for so long.

I don't know if Trump will be a good president, but he was the one courting their vote after the Dems dropped Bernie.

Comment Re:It was bound to happen. (Score 4, Interesting) 106

Isn't it strange that America and most Western countries have stricter trade between their own states/provinces than they do with other countries?

If you're in the US, ponder the interstate commerce clause. Ever wonder why there is a federal minimum wage? It's because when minimum wages were being introduced, it didn't take a PHd to understand that if Alabama had no minimum wage and New York had a $5 minimum wage that a lot of jobs would go to Alabama. New York workers would actually be prevented from competing to get those jobs.

The result is the rather common sense interstate commerce clause. If goods/services are destined for trade they are subject to be regulated by the federal government... part of it is to ensure common labor, environment standards...

The question every western country should ask is where did this logic go when it came to international free trade. This is not a left/right issue. It is an issue of the rule of law.

There are various resolutions to the issue.
1. Could mandate that any goods coming in from another country must obey the US federal minimum wage.
2. Could not sign free trade deals with countries with significantly lower labor/environmental rules.
3. Remove minimum wage regulations in the USA, giving American workers the ability to compete on a level playing field. ...

Comment Re:Hard to believe, but cable used to be AD-FREE (Score 1) 112

While I don't like ads, I don't know if they're THE reason for Netflix.

In my own personal life, I'd rank the reasons as follows.

1. Can watch content any time (not on a schedule)
2. unique content itself (shows, comedy specials...)
3. Suggestions
4. No Ads

I still get cable due to a bundle deal, and watch a few shows. The commercials don't really bother me. Heck, there's always a few that entertain me and its a good excuse for a break.

I'd rather not have commercials of course, but they're a small inconvenience.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

Implementation is the key. There's so many 'red flags' with big consequences that it is very risky policy to implement in any large nation.

1. Would able bodied people keep working? I think it is nice for academics and others who have jobs they like to imagine they'd keep doing them. How about being a miner to dig for lithium? Even if you do keep working, will you do the part of the job you hate knowing you could always just say screw it and get on the UBI? Yes, maybe companies make work more pleasant and can keep people working efficiently, but the what-if it doesn't is always there.

2. Would you be able to compete? Unless the UBI is done on a global basis, it introduces some tricky timings. Maybe you lose economic competitiveness? Maybe your country gets flooded by immigration for the free money? Do you start to have stricter border controls? Does anything in it impact free trade rules.

3. Savings are theoretical. There's always talk of replacing all large parts of our social programs with UBI. I don't buy that. I'm in Canada. Just getting a wage freeze for public sector workers is hard enough. Can you imagine a government which says I'm going to lay off a million public sector workers (or whatever the number is). Yeah, good luck with that.

4. The UBI is theoretically capable of giving you an okay life. For simplicity, a single person gets a one bedroom apartment, cable, cell phone, food, clothes.. Will we set the bar high enough for that. Reality is we already have free money in most western countries. It's called welfare. It's just set so low and the process so arduous that most people don't want to be on it. Do we risk that happening long term and just having UBI end up as welfare.

5. What will people do with boredom. Yes, some percentage will pursue interests. But will people feel useless, unproductive...? Some people want something to do and work has provided that for thousands of years. Be it farming, cleaning, factory, technical, social... whatever.

I have nothing morally against a UBI. I just think it's really premature to be talking about it as a serious policy. There's just so much work that needs to be done right now.

I'd much rather see a focus on making jobs more pleasant and even guaranteeing / subsidizing jobs. Heck, we could use several more people on my team at work right now. Don't have the budget for it of course. But eh, if we're going down this road of UBI, why not have the government pay for a few folks to help out.

Comment Re:The most outrageous aspect (Score 2) 104

As someone whose worked for a few large firms, it's impossible for some senior leader not to know.

It's like the VW Diesel emissions scandal. What engineer just decides on their own to scam US emissions testing?

The order came down from somewhere.
Maybe it came directly from the top.
Maybe pressure from the top to meeting emissions standards cause a senior manager to push this scam onto their team.

About the only way it could be a rogue regular employee is if there's some really perverse incentive for them to take this risk. But those are the outlier cases.

In my view the senior executives should always be held liable. Either they instructed it directly or they didn't have enough controls in place to detect it or they applied too much pressure on lower levels.

You can also prosecute lower levels as well, but I think the exec should always be prosecuted if any of the lower levels are complicit like this.

No doubt any employee who setup fake accounts or actually turned on the VW emissions cheat knew they were doing something wrong and you can prosecute them; especially if they didn't make any kind of fuss to management.

Yes, I've done things as well that are against policy; nothing illegal, but definitely against the companies stated policies. I'm not a saint here. I just raise my concern, if my manager tells me to do it anyways; meh... I'd rather keep my good job.

Comment Re:Protectionism (Score 2) 813

I agree in general, everything is the same until it is not.

History is really long. We've had thousands of years of civilization.
So it is sometimes worthy to ponder where your grounding is.

Essentially so much of our understanding of labor and economics is rooted in the industrial revolution. Which represents a sliver of time under very specific conditions.

Are we leaving the conditions of our current economic system that worked well within the industrial age? Could be or it could not. But it is a great question. I'd just be careful about presuming everything continues as before and it will all work out because it worked out for the past 200 years or so. That's a short time scale historically.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com...
http://www.nber.org/papers/w18...

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 2) 531

Definitely agree.

It is really good that programming is so accessible. It was really easy for me to get started back in the day. First in BASIC. Then in C/C++.

The problem is that line between casual use and professional.

I've made bridges before. I built them using Lego at one point. I build them using wood and Popsicle sticks. But who would think that qualifies me to build an actual bridge across a river that people would use?

Or less crazy, I use Excel and know spreadsheets. I have pretty good knowledge of numbers and banking. Who would think that qualifies me to run their accounting department? The line here is much greyer actually. Because I could probably hack something together to do the books for a small business.

The problem with software is that use-cases aren't graded enough. I've written banking, networking, industrial/mining software. These are serious fields and in all these fields, the bar was pretty much the same as when I worked on some app. It's really sad actually.

The focus on programming languages not the issue in my view. It's that serious fields don't do enough to differentiate themselves from casual fields in software.

Comment Re:Net Neutrality (Score 1) 199

I recall a similar thing in Canada and it's interesting to see pricing mechanism evolve.

In Canada back in the day, unlimited usage was a common practice. Then people started seeing the ISPs throttling traffic. Normally Bit Torrent.. There was some outrage and Net Neutrality came to kind of mean you are not allowed to throttle anything.

Then pretty much all the unlimited plans disappeared and you got per-Gig pricing when you go over your limit. Unlimited plans are coming back again.

I worked in the networking field for a while, and it is simply true that 'network management' is a real thing. What to do when congestion happens. How do you keep a good user experience. Even if you're an absolute cynic, there is a cost when congestion happens. Increased support calls. Potentially losing a customer to a competitor.

And yes, the sad reality is that it is not viewed from the user's perspective. NetFlex, gaming, VOIP... are the last things a user might want throttled.

This approach does try to bring it back to the user, but I'm skeptical.

I think if we're going with a regulated approach, a solution might be to have ISPs publish their throttling rules. Hopefully the government can oversee that those rules are fair. Netflix gets the same treatment as the ISP video. They can also audit these rules. But how knows, they'll probably claim it a trade secret :P

Comment Re:Because there's no advantage (Score 1) 206

This is it right here.

Even for those people who use it occasionally, they still carry their wallet.

In theory, I might want to use a wallet. It would be very useful to store all my cards on it (credit, loyalty cards...). In reality, I have very few cards. I have 2 credit cards. I personally have tended to avoid loyalty cards mainly because I don't want to carry them and don't want my information out there.

So for 2 credit cards inside a wallet I'm carrying anyways... it's just not really a problem for me. My cards support chip/pin or tap for small transactions. It's so convenient.

Now it is possible this is a generation thing. Maybe the next generation doesn't carry their wallet around much; in the same way as my generation tended to give up home phone lines and just use a cell phone.

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

I'm hopeful, but I've come to expect that whatever you 'save', *they* will eventually want the same amount of money they used to take.

Color me a naive young Canadian homeowner :P

Conserve water effort... refit my house with water saving items... oops now the government is not taking in enough money from water usage, they increase the base connection fee.

Conserve electricity effort... refit my house with energy efficient appliances and lights... oops now the government / electricity providers want more money for whatever their programs are.

Try to get off cable... get netflix and a home NAS... oops guess the cable company doesn't like that and they price it so you basically have to take cable. Don't get cable, your bundle is crappy and they raise the price of the internet to make up for their cable losses.

Oh sure, there might be some short term saving from electric cars. But I don't think you're going to save money in the end. Oh sure, you might not use gas. But then the government is going not have as much tax revenue from gas taxes. Oooops, suddenly there are more road tolls or distance driven based pricing. No doubt these electric cars will be 'highly' connected and oops... the complex electronics are designed to fail after the magical 10 year mark.

Now you can call me a cynical Canadian :P
So yeah, I still do things to be better for the environment or what have you. But I've pretty much given up on the idea that I'll be saving money long term. Do it because it feels good to do the right thing if you want. But I just don't see them letting us drive for less.

Comment Re:they also found... (Score 1) 314

That every well might be true, but the issue is more complex.

I think the issue is made worse by our use of the word racist; a highly charged word.

People do that a lot, when in reality different words should be used.

If some one dies, it could natural, murder, second degree murder, man slaughter, negligence, an accident...

The accusation of racism is thrown out and it is taken as though the accused is morally repugnant.

It is kind of like abortion activists says abortion is murder.
It is kind of like anti-rape activists who say druken sex is rape.

You can play with the technicalities, but everyone knows the difference between these cases.

If you're a woman who is walking at night and is clubbed in the back of her head and dragged behind a bush and sexually assaulted... you know that is a vastly different thing than getting a bit tipsy and not giving your full informed consent to sexual intercourse.

And so we have this case. The connotation here is just so strong with racism. That there is a severe moral failing with AirBnB's landlords. They're like the KKK or running apartheid.

So of course people get up in arms. In reality, most are just decent people who are trying to maximize their gains and minimize their losses. They detect certain patterns in life and apply it.

I was born in South Africa. I've probably faced more 'racism' than anything African Americans today have faced. I literally was not allowed into white washrooms. We literally did have to apply and wait for housing approval. We literally were not allowed to own certain businesses. We were literally taught genetic inferiority. For the record, I'm not black or white.

That was racist policies. That and slavery and segregation are the mental images people have when you bring up racism and it is why we have such a revulsion to it.

But as we have solved many of these issues and get into less explosive issues, I think the moral failure angle has to stop.

I wouldn't call the AirBnB landlord racist; as in he think blacks people are inferior or genetically criminals.

They're just people in life making calculated choices. Same as I would avoiding a certain neighborhood or whatever the case.

THAT ALL SAID. Just because it is not RACISM, does not mean it is all 'good' and nothing should be done.

I applaud AirBnB for trying to find solution to these; whether it is hiding photos of people or education programs. This does expose a systemic issues of racism; not much different from a black guys trying to get a cab.

The average black person is harmed by the general stereotypes. That does hurt and should be addressed.

What's sad, is most often the solutions involve 'discrimination' in other ways that is equally fought.
I hate it. For example, we grew up poor and in a bad neighborhood when we moved to Canada. Yet, we were hella responsible. Good credit, no criminal record...

Now how could we show someone at AirBnb, that we are responsible. By making a point of no criminal record and good credit; even though we were from a bad neighborhood.

Yet, the anti-discrimination folks have almost pushed too far. In Ontario, Canada for example, they banned the use of credit card scores in determining auto-insurance rates.

They could still use your location. So if you're in a bad neighborhood, you will get screwed. And there's less ways to prove you're a 'good' person in a bad neighborhood.

Comment Re:All Cisco users had this problem? (Score 1) 103

This is really the answer.
Buggy or not, if you provide an SLA (service level agreement), then you are ultimately responsible for it.

You do what you have to provide that SLA.
Test the equipment you plan to use.
Add a lot of redundancy and failovers ...

SLA's cost money.
Heck one silly line in the article is
"The entire network often has to go down in order to patchâ"very disruptive in the best of times,"

I really have to wonder what kind of network these guys are running. There should be failover nodes to take on the load when one is being upgraded. Heck, in some firms, they even have entire sites as backup for major upgrades.

HInt... don't put SLAs in the contract unless you can meet them. Nothing to see here.

Comment Re:Completely wrong.... (Score 3, Interesting) 618

Sometimes irony is too much.

I imagine the university will also have the cognitive dissonance to talk about STEM and the information economy and the future of highly skilled work. We need to educate our kids in technology so they can have jobs in the future!

By that they mean the kids can take courses at the university to bring business to the university.

All the while doing this to actual tech workers.

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