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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Who sells what?

CurtHagenlocher 10 minutes ago | link

Apple sells hardware. Microsoft sells software. IBM sells services. Google and Facebook sell advertising. Amazon sells everything.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Patio11 on a college education

patio11 607 days ago | link | parent | flag

Even if you think university will teach you absolutely nothing, you've got a one-time offer from society that we're going to subsidize anything you do for the next four years and not have any expectation that you'll work for a living during that time. This offer is essentially only good once. Take it.

That said, you can learn an awful lot from school. You say it is tedious -- that suggests to me you're underchallenged. Have you tried learning a foreign language yet? Like, really learning a foreign language, rather than learning to say "Yo quiero una cerveza" like I assume your high school Spanish has taught you? It is incredibly rewarding, in all possible senses of the term rewarding, and you'll never get a better opportunity than the next four years. (Dedicated instructors, plenty of time not occupied by the demands of job and family, social push to complete studies, possibility of study abroad bankrolled by someone else and unrestricted by visa concerns, etc etc etc...)

You can also learn quite a bit about programming during college, even if actually doing it is a much better teacher. (Although, again, we're subsidizing all your activities for four years -- you show up for 3 hours of classes 5 days a week, the rest of the time is yours, program as much as you want to program.)

Incidentally, I hate to sound like An Official Adult, but just trust me on this one: the job market for young Americans sucks right now, and you absolutely do not want to be facing it without a degree. Degrees are not just for boring megacorps coding Blub: even cool companies which code Lisp look for people who can carry tasks to completion, and not possessing a degree when we hand them out like candy on Halloween suggests "I am insufficiently motivated to do clearly beneficial things when they require non-trivial amounts of actual work. Please employ me -- you will find me excellent at everything you assign me to do, provided none of it is actual work."

Metaphors suck

jerf 3 hours ago | link

Never use metaphors for online issues. They simply don't apply, the online world has far too many differences from the physical world for them to ever work. It isn't like "leaving books around a library", it is like "digital online content was accidentally priced for free when it shouldn't have been and some people downloaded them". This isn't such a complicated situation that we need metaphors to navigate the morass, not that they ever help anyhow since it inevitably causes people to get distracted by arguing over which inapplicable metaphor is more accurate instead of simply addressing the question at hand.

What really matter here is the breach of contract. The contract specified when Amazon can drop the price, that condition was not met, they dropped the price. Apologies or blaming computers are not what is called for here.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Eat *that*, homeopathy!

43 points by uvdiv 13 hours ago | link

>BTW: you to know that Western medicine is not the only medicine in the world.There is only one class of medicine in the world, and is scientific. Your attempt to frame science-based medicine as a racial or cultural property ("Western") lies at the root of your reasoning fallacies: you reinterpret comparison between industrialized and tribal humans as cultural/racial, regardless of whether race or culture has anything to do with it. The superiority of empirical medicine is not cultural hegemony. The life-saving knowledge of microbe theory and hygiene is not a religious belief that be can relativized with shamanist "healing."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why China Sucks

Between the Liu Xiaobo, his wife, and the Nobel issues, its increasingly aggressive stance in US military talks, its now clearly-visible use of de facto economic sanctions (let alone their petty sanctions, like canceling concerts and tourism) to solve political issues (e.g., Senkakus; coming up next will be the South China Sea), its claim of the entire South China Sea as a "core interest", its generals violent, angry, disrespectful rants to US diplomats and US military generals during talks, its ambassadors literally screaming at US ambassador about Taiwan arms sales (as if they're anything new?), its siding with North Korea in the Cheonan sub incident, its often-siding with Iran even as Russia goes against Iran, its harassment of all regional neighbors (Japan, India, and all of ASEAN... find one country near China that doesn't border issues with China, more often than not severe border issues), its very "coincidental" purchase of tons of Japanese bonds just as Japan was trying to weaken the yen, its reactor sales to Pakistan, its excessively predatory trade practices (you're a high-tech company that wants to do business in China? You'd better be willing to give domestic Chinese companies your technology), its industrial espionage (Everyone spies on everyone, but the CIA does not spy on Japan and give Ford technology secrets. China doesn't have this moral dilemma, however), its threatening maneuvers, war games, and military actions against regional powers (especially US, South Korea, and Japan), its dishonest military practices (this seems like a weird thing to say, but China literally has fleets militarized civilian fishing boats [strategycenter.net] so that it can claim that innocent citizens are being targeted if there is an armed conflict. I'm pretty sure the Western Powers don't do this. This is another reason Tokyo takes the fishing inside of its borders so seriously.)... Between all of these issues and so many more, China has already crossed the tipping point.
- The government of Japan is using all of its spare budget for this year to invest in rare earth metal mines in Mongolia and abroad while Japanese companies are pumping R&D money into negating the need for rare earth metals at all. The United States is also pushing to restart its rare earth mining operations.
- The Japanese Self Defense Forces has asked for a budget to study the possibility of setting up a permanent base on Yonakuni island -- an island 100 km from Taiwan. And, of course, where there are Japanese forces, there are inevitably US forces.
- The Japanese and US military are staging some war games to simulate a hostile Chinese military takeover of the Senkaku Islands so that they can prepare strategies to take the islands back by force.
- ASEAN has de facto agreed to begin setting up a bloc to contain and push back against increasingly aggressive and greedy Chinese hegemony and demands in the region. They are also asking the US to come back into this and re-assert its power in Asia. This has led to some very unusual alliances (US-Vietnam military alliance? wtf?). Because of China's aggressiveness, quite literally every rising or current Asian country (except China, of course), is gravitating back towards the US geopolitical sphere of influence.
- The Taiwanese public can only handle so much of their national image and sovereignty eroded and humiliated before they expect China to actually do something (like remove the 1500+ missiles aimed at their homes), and that tipping point is rapidly approaching (President Ma's popularity is tanking like Bush's was).
- The US is being increasingly aggressive against the Chinese yuan and their many, many, many other predatory and unfair trading practices (though to be fair to China on this one, the US's demands of an immediate yuan revaluing of +25% would be insanely destabilizing; I assume the US just set the bar high to give room to bargain downwards).
- India-China relations are degrading quite a lot, and unlike China, most all of the world superpowers have great relations with India, and India with them. In a spat between India and China, most will side with India.
Modern China has betrayed the advice of its own influential Deng Xiaoping that it should seek to engage the world peacefully, calmly, and with respect, as that's the way to get business deals in your favor and gain true political power. Some people shrug the recent Asian developments off and say that China is being increasingly aggressive because nobody wants to look weak with the upcoming party elections in 2012, but the fact is that China's actions have already caused irreparable damage to its image; damage that has undone decades of efforts by patient Chinese politicians and diplomats. Things don't change overnight, but the whole world is slowly turning against China. This is not the world teaming up to contain China; China is containing itself. Its 30 years of "smile diplomacy" and "panda diplomacy" image have been almost completely eradicated by all but the most optimistic and naive of countries. Now that China has amassed sufficient hard power, it attempts to wield that hard power over other countries; the rest of the world now sees the kind of leader that China will become, and they do not like it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I would totally watch this!

by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) Alter Relationship on 3:14 Wednesday 28 July 2010 (#33051104Homepage
Who says they aren't? But that will come in another press announcement that will also include the information that the sequel is going to be produced by Michael Bay. Only this time, instead of an ice berg sinking the Titanic, it will be an experimental submarine with tactical nuke torpedoes! And instead of Leo Di Caprio falling in love, we will be treated to a lead role as performed by Bruce Willis! And instead of falling in love with a rich girl, he will uncover a secret plot where the captain plans to steal the ship and turn it over to the Russians to cement their naval dominance of the Black Sea. Of course, Bruce will only be able to challenge the captain, as played by Kevin Spacey, with the aid of his lithe but sassy sidekick Lucy Liu! The whole thing will be so epic that the only way Bruce and Lucy can escape is on the back of sharks with friggin' laser beams attached to their foreheads. Avatar look out! Titanic in 3-D is making a run at your box office records!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

This is how shit happens

Re:Duh (Score:5, Funny)

by QRDeNameland (873957) Alter Relationship on 1:40 Monday 31 May 2010 (#32399694)
Oh, like this.
First of all, the sections of pipe are joined mechanically, and sealed with O-rings. The O-rings are specified for shallow water pressures (and temperatures), and rather than use adequate deep water parts, the shallow water parts were continued to avoid mandatory Federal oversight and testing.
On top of that, deadlines for completion were already tight, as no schedule variability was provided for unforeseen events, such as severe weather, that might hamper drilling and well conversion efforts. The conversion from an exploratory/research structure into a production well was a hard deadline, and pressure was on internally from the otherwise stagnant middle managers clamoring for achievement. There was no room for failure with a project named Deepwater Horizon.
As engineers' warnings flowed up the chain of command, the wording changed from "grave concern" to "concern" to "noted comment" to eventually "thumbs up!". Inter-hierarchical presentations followed a strict time schedule, so power point mentality and "no bad news up" reigned.

That reminds me of this old classic:

In the beginning was the Plan.
And then came the Assumptions.
And the Assumptions were without form.
And the Plan was without substance.
And darkness was upon the face of the workers.
And they spoke among themselves, saying, "It is a crock of shit, and it stinks."
And the workers went unto their Supervisors and said, "It is a pail of dung, and we can't live with the smell."
And the Supervisors went unto their Managers, saying "It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it."
And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying "It is a vessel of fertilizer and none may abide its strength."
And the Directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another, "It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong."
And the Directors went to the Vice Presidents, saying unto them, "It promotes growth, and it is very powerful."
And the Vice Presidents went to the President, saying unto him, "This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigor of the company with powerful effects."
And the President looked upon the Plan and saw that it was good.
And the Plan became Policy.
And that is how shit happens.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Put *THAT* on Longbets.org

Church Admits Touching Children and Covering it Up Not Such a Good Idea.

Pope John Paul George Ringo the Third officially stated via the openly gay pontiff's Jupiter-hosted website [www.catholic.popestuff2], "We've had a little time to think about it and we finally understand that whole uproar or whatever. Hey like the third testament says in Bieber 10:15 'Whatever you want shawty I'll give it to ya'."

He went on to say, "Here's some water! Hope that makes up for it."

Editor's Note: Catholicism was a dominant religion centuries ago in which old men in funny hats told others what to do.

Editor's Editor's Note: Religion was a wide-held belief that ideas found in stories millenniums old should be used to rule our lives. Not kidding.

(article translated from Chinese via Skybot Vacuum Cleaner with Babel Attachment)