Posted by Soulskillon Friday May 10, 2013 @10:10AM from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Doug Otto writes "Buried deep in the bowels of a bi-partisan immigration reform bill is a 'photo tool.' The goal is to create a photo database consisting of every citizen. Wired calls it 'a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.' Of course the database would be used only for good, and never evil. 'This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet.'"
It's hard for me to understand where the writer has been for the past few years. When I go to vote, I must produce a government-issued photo ID (thanks, Chris Kobach, for fixing a problem that didn't exist). When I report to a health-related appointment, I must produce a government-issued photo ID (goodness only knows who thought someone else would wish to pretend to be me when I go for an eye exam or to have a lesion burned off!) When I transact business with the credit union (either one to which I belong), I must provide a government-issued photo ID - and that isn't just to "open a bank account" or "acquire credit". When I check in to board a commercial aircraft, you can bet your bottom dollar that I must produce a government-issued photo ID.
"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is [sic] love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country."
Especially considering current news reports, we surely could benefit from following the late Sen Kennedy's wise words.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world." Robert F. Kennedy
My paternal grandmother would have been 129, today. Although she died in 1978, I still miss her - one of the gentlest souls I've ever known.
Any one of my readers, friends, family, acquaintances could have told the researchers the answer that the report in the following post from Slashdot.org found concerning scientists. Of course, we must be scientific and show that our answer is correct! Anyone want to place a bet on the answer to a similar question concerning politicians?
Posted by Soulskillon Wednesday January 23, @05:26PM from the it's-a-guy-thing dept.
sciencehabit writes "Male scientists — especially at the upper echelons of the profession — are far more likely than women to commit misconduct. That's the bottom line of a new analysis by three microbiologists of wrongdoing in the life sciences in the United States. Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, Seattle; Joan Bennett of Rutgers University; and Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine combed through misconduct reports on 228 people released by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) over the last 19 years. They then compared the gender balance — or imbalance, in this case — against the mix of male and female senior scientists and trainees to gauge whether misconduct was more prevalent among men. A remarkable 88% of faculty members who committed misconduct were men, or 63 out of 72 individuals. The number of women in that group was one-third of what one would expect based on female representation in the life sciences."
In Utopia, there are "just enough" rewarding jobs to fully employ the available workforce. In reality, over the past millenium, humanity has over-produced people while inventing new ways to keep people from "having to" work. Many times when a worker invents a better way (often defined as cheaper way) to accomplish tasking, they assure destruction of human jobs. But...it is human to wish to come up with better ways of doing things. Fortunately, in this context, humans keep coming up with more "wants" to be fulfilled; thus, we have whole industries based upon no real human need - employing many of the people who would otherwise be unemployed. This ramble is to lead into presentation of a posting on Slashdot.org.
Posted by samzenpuson Wednesday January 16, @09:57PM from the no-lunch-breaks dept.
fangmcgee writes "Rethink Robotics invented a $22,000 humanoid robot named "Baxter" that could give cheap offshore labor a run for its money and return manufacturing jobs to U.S. soil. Artificial intelligence expert Rodney Brooks is the brain behind Baxter. From the article: 'Brooks’s company, Rethink Robotics, says the robot will spark a “renaissance” in American manufacturing by helping small companies compete against low-wage offshore labor. Baxter will do that by accelerating a trend of factory efficiency that’s eliminated more jobs in the U.S. than overseas competition has. Of the approximately 5.8 million manufacturing jobs the U.S. lost between 2000 and 2010, according to McKinsey Global Institute, two-thirds were lost because of higher productivity and only 20 percent moved to places like China, Mexico, or Thailand.'"
We really, really need to stop bellyaching about the unemployed and how society is "forced" to support them - or - we need to cut down on the supply of employable people. Given a choice, I would opt for the latter; but, as hostile as the various religions are to family planning, that isn't going to happen. I guess this qualifies as a pet peeve!
Addition of 1/23/2013:
This addition is just for Stu, although I shan't chide anyone who wishes to peek at another posting from Slashdot.org.
The roadblocks that some bloggers put in the way of a reader's adding comments to their postings is discouraging. I am, frequently, unwilling to fulfill my part of the "bargain" that the bloggers wish to impose on me.
One wishes to review each comment before it is published? I get that and will participate.
One blocks anonymous postings? Not so much. Such blockers (and most use Blogger) do not get my cooperation.
If a blogger is thoughtful enough to allow anonymous commenting, I try valiantly (occasionally failing) to include "Cop Car" at the end of any "anonymous" posting that I leave. I will not sign in with Google or Facebook or Twitter or any other entity. Why? Because.
The internet continues to evolve and with it our privacy continues to be a matter of debate. It was once taken for granted by people who worked in advertising that a person’s privacy was paramount. Then some advertisers broke that trust and thereafter came the annoying phone calls during the dinner hour. In the last few years our private lives have been inundated with junk mail and our mailboxes real and virtual are filled to the tipping point with brand magazines and offers.
I started this posting to draw readers' attentions to today's posting at Ronni Bennett's place, Time Goes By. In particular, I wished to draw attention to a couple of videos that she embedded concerning purposes; as in, "What is the real purpose of life?" and "Does the Universe have a purpose?" However, I appreciate the two videos so much that I, too, am embedding them - below. They provide food for thought.
Addition of 12/10/2012:
Stu, in a comment below, mentions Douglas Adams. Adams in his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe Galaxy (science fiction comedy) included a super computer that was constructed to figure out the "answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything". While the "Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything" is never defined, the computer arrives at the answer of "42". Somehow, it always struck me as funny that the answer would not be a prime number.
Well...in this case, it was a matter of taking corporate responsibility. The excerpts below are from an article on Slashdot.org, How CoreSite Survived Sandy.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, the combination of high winds, rain, and storm surges wreaked havoc on homes and businesses alike. SlashDataCenter paid close attention to New York City, where floods swept the southern tip of Manhattan. With a data center on the Avenue of the Americas, CoreSite Realty escaped the worst the storm had to offer. But was it coincidence or careful planning?
First off, can you explain your [Billie Haggard's - CC] role within CoreSite?
We build, maintain and operate all of our datacenters, from the construction to the facilities, engineering, and security of all the data centers. So they’re the ones the in the field making all the magic happen.
What sort of contingency planning do you always have in place? And what sort of specialized plans did you have in place for Sandy, when it came on your radar?
For any incident, we have a business continuity plan as well as a disaster recovery plan. And they’re driven by certain timing—disasters are. For Sandy, five days out, what it triggers is—we hold a meeting, and we go down through our checklist. Do we have this? Do we have this? Do we apply new people? Do we need to reserve hotel rooms? We go through and we check communications, the staffing of our personnel, looking at our individuals, and determining whether they have special needs. Coordinate with people we depend upon, which is our vendors and contractors. Things like making sure we have an electrician available, so if we need to we can run an alternate power source, if we have an extended outage.
Something that gets missed, when we have extended outages like this, is feeding people. So just taking the preparations and going out and shop and have three days worth of food at the site. Spare parts, run through all of our equipment checks, make sure all of our operations are ready to handle an outage.
So specifically for Sandy, it’s five days out, going through the contingency plans, making sure that we’ve gone through the checklist and making sure that everyone knew what they were doing and making sure all the preparations were made.
On the evening of the 29th, when the hurricane made landfall, what happened?
We had three people on site, one facilities person and one operations person. [Uh...I don't know who the third person was! CC] We didn’t know what the impact was going to be. And, initially, we started talking about power, and the lights started flickering. Our facilities personnel made the decision that utility power was not stable, so we proactively transferred our site to generator [power]. Because you don’t have to have an outage to create problems in the data center. Those momentary flickers take hits on the batteries, they can cause spikes on the electrical grid, grounding problems and things like that. So we proactively went to generators, prior to Sandy hitting. So we were all stable.
So at what time did you start worrying that [3.5-day supply of fuel for the generator - CC] wasn’t going to be enough? Or did you?
Well, I’ll tell you, the best investment I ever made… was that we paid $9,000 at the beginning of the year to have a guaranteed fuel delivery within eight hours. So when everyone started scrambling, trying to find fuel, ours was already paid for. We were at the top of the list.
So eight hours in, we already had fuel trucks running. And every 24 hours, we had fuel, even though we didn’t need to.
You said you had three days worth of food on-site, and three employees there. So they had cots, and slept on-site?
Yes. We reserved hotel rooms, but talk about lessons learned: what we found is even though we had personnel in hotels, they lost power and water in the hotels. So it was actually more advantageous for the guys to be at the sites sleeping, and they had water and shower capabilities and food.
We also found that our customers didn’t plan on not finding places to eat, and we were actually feeding our customers.
So how much food did you actually have on hand?
We had more than three days, and we actually had food delivered from uptown.
As the hurricane moved through, and past, it sounds like CoreSite’s experience wasn’t that bad. What lessons did you learn from all of this?
One is to ensure that our documentation and our checklist goes beyond 24 hours. I think that most of—if you look at the tier ratings, how a datacenter is classified, Tier 1, 2, 3, or 4 and 4 being the most reliable—all the requirements are based on 12 hours. Twelve hours of fuel, twelve hours of water for your cooling systems, and we’ve always looked at 24 hours. In preparations for disasters such as Sandy, in the future, we’re going to expand that to three days.
And the other thing is, we had to depend a lot on outside organizations. As I said, the data center becomes an island. And within the building at 32 Ave. of the Americas, the biggest problem was with network people. Even though the data center stayed up, we actually had customers of the building that had lost power and had lost connectivity and so we were sending electricians to reroute power and connectivity on our site so they [customers] could use our power and our connectivity to power their facilities.
The other thing is making sure our customers understand that temporary systems are not good in situations like this. One of our major carriers, their backup system was to bring up a rollup generator. And from what I understand, they paid to have this generator there in four hours, and when they had this generator up, the police confiscated it for emergency use. So their backup generator wasn’t there any more.
Posted by timothyon Saturday October 06, @08:25AM from the we-need-more-hang-gliders dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "When it comes to infrastructure, politicians usually prefer shiny new projects over humdrum repairs. A brand-new highway is exciting: There's a ribbon-cutting, and there's less need to clog up existing lanes with orange cones and repair crews. So it's not surprising that 57 percent of all state highway funding goes toward new construction, often stretching out to the suburbs, even though new roads represent just 1.3 percent of the overall system. Now Brad Plumer writes in the Washington Post that many transportation reformers think this is a wrong-headed approach and that we should focus our dollars on fixing and upgrading existing infrastructure rather than continuing to build sprawling new roads). UCLA economist Matthew Kahn and the University of Minnesota's David Levinson made a more detailed case for a "fix-it first" strategy. They noted that, at the moment, federal highway spending doesn't get subjected to strict cost-benefit analysis, and governments often build new roads when they arguably shouldn't (PDF). And that's to say nothing of data suggesting that poor road conditions are a "significant factor" in one-third of all fatal crashes, and cause extra wear and tear on cars."
Years ago, while single, I had a beau who chastized me (and others) for having "routines". His theory was that one's brain was kept sharper by varying everything that one did, as frequently as possible. Well...the article, below, that was posted on Slashdot.org, will make no difference to that guy (who is dead); but, it vindicates (as if I needed it - lol) how I have always felt. I always felt that routines left my brain free to think about more important things and saved me the time that the decision-making process consumes.
Snippets of comments from friends: 1) "You have three dresses and I've seen enough of them. Go buy more clothes!" 2) "I know what day of the week it is by which outfit you are wearing." 3) "Are apples and cheese the only foods you buy? You always have an apple and a little cheese for lunch." 4) "Why don't you wear makeup?" or "...shave your legs?" or "...go to a hair dresser?" or "...dye your hair?" or - you get the idea.
The only time I was forced to abandon routine was for the nine years when I worked for the Little Engineering Company. With them, I had to be really flexible because I traveled - a lot! - and, during a few of my years with them, varying my routines was a matter of security. Now that I am retired, though, I generally follow many fewer routines. I don't need to save my attention/time for anything!