Re: Rise of the machines.
I made a goof on the first sentence. The Return On Investment (ROI) for installing automation INCREASES when wages increase. I may have infused my tea with something potent before writing.
413 posts • joined 10 Aug 2012
I made a goof on the first sentence. The Return On Investment (ROI) for installing automation INCREASES when wages increase. I may have infused my tea with something potent before writing.
As the average wage increases for Chinese workers, the ROI on automation decreases. Engineers have been trained and pushed at thinking about (automated) manufacturability when they design new products. Between that and the shrinking of products to sizes that can't be assembled by human hands, manufacturing jobs in consumer electronics is dropping.
All of the fanbois and the elected officials that believe Elon is going to employ thousands of people in a battery factory should be paying attention to stories like this one. Robotic assembly is more efficient and has less liability than even moderately priced human workers. One harassment lawsuit might pay for several robots that don't crack dirty jokes. The benefit of locating a company in the US or Europe now is the reliability of electricity. Too bad the taxes and regulations knock that way back.
Wages in China have been increasing and are not the £1/day plus a bowl of rice that they used to be. Many jobs, especially in consumer electronics, are on par or nearly so with 1st world wages. The lure of Asia is the concentration of feed-in suppliers, the lower regulations and the often generous tax credit and land grants. In some areas, a government will grant the land, construct the factory and offer a multi-year tax exemption if a company will employ a certain number of workers. If all those workers need to do is fill bins and top up the oil in the robots, they don't need to be all that educated.
California is already committed to bankrupting itself with a high speed train projected to cost around $68 billion dollars (likely to go way past the initial budget). A much better first step would be to get a "higher" speed train running from San Diego to Seattle, WA. It's currently faster to drive and cheaper for petrol/diesel for every segment except the full run since you might nod off towards the end. Amtrak, the US passenger train system, shares tracks owned by the freight companies and must yield to their trains causing lots of delays. The tracks are also not maintained and sequestered for trains traveling 100mph.
I would expect that the Hyperloop system would demand low/no interest government loans and all sorts of tax breaks/credits for the jobs it would create. Nevermind that those jobs would likely have been at the expense of the airline industry.
The biggest question is whether either the Hyperloop or High Speed Rail are of any benefit. Those that need to travel quickly can find a seat on one of the many airplanes traveling up and down the state every day. For people like me that enjoy the more leisurely pace of the train can budget the time to take one. Driving is also a good option for those that need to transport more than an overnight bag and prefer not to get groped by people that can't get a job in fast food. Driving also has the benefits of being more schedule flexible and you have a vehicle when you get to your destination.
A faster standard rail service would be a good bridge between driving and taking a plane. Trying to compete with air travel times is a bit silly. One accident or any significant downtime on that one track is going to send customers streaming back to more established transportation modes.
The Helium on Earth isn't just "floating around". There isn't enough gravity to keep it in the atmosphere. Helium is found in underground reservoirs and much of that in Texas. It occurs as a byproduct of nuclear decay. An Alpha Particle is an ionized Helium atom. It finds a couple of electrons that nobody is guarding too closely and whalla, a stable He atom.
He is much like crude oil. There is a finite amount available in recoverable reservoirs and it's created very slowly in comparison to our rate of usage. He is useful for cooling of sensors and superconductivity applications and also in rocketry where it's low mass and compatibility with liquid Oxygen make it ideal. Airships and Zuckerdude/Bozos Wi-Fi balloons floated over unstable countries are a massive waste of a limited resource.
I have mixed feelings over party balloons. I earned an income delivering balloon bouquets as a 6' rabbit when I was in high school. One can get away with a lot while wearing a rabbit costume and carrying a couple of dozen balloons. I sure did. Being allowed in to a women's dorm is a piece of cake.
Hard drives? Honestly, spinning rust is the modern day equivalent of buggy whip. As SSD's become better and cheaper, the need for the common standard hard drive will dwindle away and the last company producing them will be selling the finest state of the art HD of its kind. I'm sure the last maker of buggy whips in large volumes was making the very best. I'd suggest to HDD manufacturers to give up on He filled drives and use the money in R&D of the next solid state storage platform.
While cameras in smartphones have been improved, they will never reach the quality level of a proper purpose made camera. It's just plain old physics and easy to see when you compare sensor sizes and how much budget is given to get the best quality. /rant
For a while now, there are so many off-brand phones that have the core set of features that people use day in and day out that paying 10x more for the latest name brand is ludicrous. Service universally sucks not matter which vendor you choose and the handset is going to be obsolete in a year or less, so why pay the premium? Get a phone now that does what you want it to do and don't get bamboozled by a load of useless gimmicks. Next year, sell off your aged piece of kit to somebody looking for a deal and pick up something else. Use the massive savings on a nice holiday somewhere sunny. (or buy food)
From the evidence, I thought that is how it works now, but you left out the spelling and grammar mistakes and foul language.
While Fox News takes the extreme conservative viewpoint, much of mainstream news takes an extreme liberal stance.
If the mud slinging, personal attacks and other distractions were removed, I would be very happy with making our "leadership" defend their positions on the issues. Like that's going to happen. In this age of reality TV, one has to have gratuitous insults (bleeped or not), epithets, and physical violence to achieve any sort of ratings (LCD). I like to think that TV would be better, and I'd start watching it again more frequently, if there were far fewer channels with much better content.
A story suitable for The Onion. Robo Journalists wouldn't gather news, they'd gather data and a massive rank of editors would have to sift through all of the muck to find a few diamonds.
Peter Hurley, a noted portrait photographer, tried out a very high resolution RED video camera on a session to see if having 30 or 60 frames per second would allow him to get the perfect image of somebody in his studio. Technically, the video frames were high quality enough, but sorting through what amounts to 10's or 100's of thousands of images was a chore and a half. Just as he knows when to press the shutter to capture the best image, a human reporter will know what is news and what is noise. Would it be the same if the Red Light District was automated?
The judge's poor judgment puts MS into an impossible situation. The management of the Irish subsidiary could face prosecution if they allow the data to be released and the management (or sacrificial lambs) of M$/US could be trussed up for breaching some treaty or another.
This will be an interesting case to follow as the currency of information is still in it's infancy. It's also another instance to reinforce the concept of stored data being a liability.
Jimmy Alkaselzter is great. (Other than how his podcast comes out after editing).
Didn't The Man® have to take down the shed and pack it away in yellow 55 gallon drums some years ago?
DNA is not likely to survive intact on the surface of the moon. Since there is no geological activity on the moon, there isn't a good mechanism for it migrating down on its own.
When one complicates the problems by specifying "Human" DNA, the probe better be able to process the entire volume of the moon and discount materials found at any of the lander sites since the differences between human DNA and DNA from any other living thing is not a very large difference. One would need several (or many) complete strands before there would be enough data points to say that "human" DNA was found.
Screw the probes, it's time to found Luna City and HKL and then there definitely will be Human DNA on the moon (or IN the moon as the case may be).
I worked at a small aerospace firm a couple of years ago and the salesdweeb wanted everybody to get iPhones so we could all stay "connected". The last thing I wanted was to be getting calls and texts after working hours. I had to bitch when I found that some kind soul, probably the salesdweeb, connected my cell phone into the phone system so vendors and customers would be routed to my cell phone instead of the company investing in a small office phone system with voicemail. His email memo trying to generate support for having everybody get iPhones (could have been Android, doesn't matter) was met with my email that they could bloody well pay me up front for a full two years of contract cell service or provide the phone/service with the company on the hook for it. I think that most of the staff felt the same way and the proposal died a deserved violent death.
The big question is "why". Why do all these management zombies come back from their retreats with silly notions about handing around company phones? If the job involves out of office work, it makes sense to have a company issued cell phone, but for everybody else, a phone at the desk and voicemail works just fine. Why is it necessary for employees to access the company's network with their personal phone/tablet? They'd spend less time checking their FarceBook account if it was coming out of their own data plan.
Maybe I'm missing the whole point and getting free data access and kit at work by trading off-hours for it is the way things are now. I prefer to be off-line after my 8 or so hours are done. If the company wants me after hours, they can pay me on-call bonuses. Only once or twice has anything needed to be addressed after I had left the office. The rest of the time, dealing with it the next morning was good enough.
I thought the US government declared Bitcoin an un-currency (or immoral or fattening or something). It must have been a grand joke to ask for payment in Bitcoin where there would have been no legal way for Detroit to comply if they had the bucks.
I agree that it sounds more like a crypto-locker job than somebody removing the files from the server completely. The NSA has a few big computers, maybe they could be put into useful service by decrypting the files. Or, will the USA cease to exist if they aren't fully occupied hoovering up everybody's cell conversations and texts?
If Zuck fires the bus company and it can be demonstrated that he did so because they voted to join a union, Zuck goes to prison. The labor laws on that sort of thing in the US are pretty harsh. All you have to do is look at how much labor unions contribute to election campaigns to see the reason for that.
There might be some time-on-duty issues if the drivers worked during the middle of the day.
The morning drivers might be offered work after their driving duties end until later in the afternoon and evening drivers could either start late (11am-noon) doing something until it was time to drive the evening shift or work after.
A bit of creative thinking might be in order. I'd go bonkers hanging about for 6 hours every day with nothing to do in a smelly trailer with 40 odd other drivers.
The issue is that the cost of living in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area is off the hook expensive as others have stated. I knew a couple of people that worked there for tech companies some years ago (late 90's) that were paying $2200/month for a 1 bedroom flat on the 4th floor with one parking space in the underground car park. I can't imagine what the cost is now for a family that needs 3 bedrooms and space for two cars. Forget about the article lamenting that these drivers couldn't make enough to buy a house in the area. Most people in the US don't earn enough money to afford a house in the area. Even the outlying areas are expensive since many people that work for these same companies in low paying jobs have had to move further out a couple of times. At some point, there won't be anybody in the area to clean offices for less than $40/hour. It's not very bright to locate a company in the area these days. Those that do are impressed with the address and are making poor business decisions.
The traffic is horrible making a job driving a giant vehicle while scared lemmings in their shiny metal boxes are constantly cutting you off trying to make it to their desk on time or back home after spending the day pretending to work. If it was a milk run on wide and open streets, things might be different.
I didn't see how many hours the drivers work each day. Is it eight or closer to six? Any benefits? Does the company pay for physicals needed to maintain a commercial license?
Seeing that their "work" doesn't accomplish any useful to society…..
The other thing that is rarely mentioned is how much electricity goes into refining crude oil into gasoline, again, mostly using coal. Electric cars have the advantage of being oblivious to how the electricity going to power them is being generated. As the grid gets cleaner, so does the electric car. Granted, petrol and diesel cars also get a bit cleaner, but they will never get anywhere near zero emissions.
FC cars do have a battery pack. The fuel cell would have to be unusably large if it had to have enough peak output to accelerate the car from a standing start up to highway speeds in less than 15-20 minutes. Once up to speed, a very large cell would be overkill for the requirements.
The issue of making use of low-grade heat is a great research topic for university under-grad and grad programs. I've always thought that using the heat output of thermal power plants to add heat and even CO2 to a large adjacent green house facility might make a load of sense. Especially in colder climates and in the winter. Imagine growing bananas or other tropical fruits in Scotland in December.
I'd like to see a pilot hydroponic plant set up that utilizes a very high CO2 fraction and low grade heat for crops such as lettuces. I haven't had a chance to talk with an entomologist to find out if the high CO2 might help eliminate pests, but it sounds like it might.
An alternative location could be in a multi-million Euro office block right in the middle of an area with stupendously high cost of living figures.
Data/internet business and government regulation offices can be anywhere with internet access. Why NOT put them in areas where the cost of living and office space aren't at a premium?
It seems that all of these smart watches all have rubbish battery life. When I used to wear a watch, they would go for a year or more before needing a new battery. My watches sometimes didn't live as long as the battery if I forgot to take it off before playing drums.
I'd be happy with a stylish eWatch that displayed the caller ID when the phone rang or a test message came in. The screen is too small to do anything very useful beyond that. I DO NOT want the bloody thing to vibrate. I work on electrical kit and the vibration would feel like a shock.
Another product looking for a use more than anything.
In the US there's a chain of tech incubators that developers can join at techshop.ws. They stock machine tools, 3D printer, waterjet machines and hold classes to learn how to use off of the kit they have. If you are just knocking out another time wasting bird game for mobile phones, you can do that at home. If you have an idea for a product, something like TechShop is idea. And!, it's a for profit company. The cost is low considering the value of the machines and workspace. If a Gubbamint wants to get in to the game, they could provide some properties for companies like this in areas like Detroit that could use a boost. Even if somebody doesn't have a new product in mind, they could come in and take classes on how to use modern machinery to update their skill set.
London isn't a good location for something like this. I envision that in a few years the project funding is going to get reallocated to something else and the building with a useless-for-business interior is going to be flogged off at auction, sit empty until vandalism and entropy make it a liability or a new "Greater London Farm Bureau" will be created to take over the space.
Record the call and let a court and your attorney sort out whether it's a good idea to try to use it. You could still make a transcript from the recording and submit that. I've never heard that a written transcript is illegal. The judge could always compare the recording with the transcript without entering the recording into evidence.
That's where they had to go to get the two orbiting test habitats launched.
It might have been easier to just inform guests that a condition of attending the ceremony and reception is that they leave their phones at home (hotel, car, somewhere else). Maybe even provide lock boxes so guests could go to a room, retrieve their phone and check messages. In turn, the Clooney's could allow guests to download photos or receive a certain number of prints from a service at a later date that were taken by the photographer(s) hired to take pictures of the event. Cell phone pictures suck and they are even worse if taken from 50ft away. Just enjoy the event and get a few photos later of much higher quality.
Even though I am a photographer, I don't take my camera to weddings I get invited to. It's too much work and I can get all the photos I want later. I never shoot friend's weddings.
Just as I advocate for all of the spies working in the new NSA data collection center in Utah, a great display of community would be to not sell this billionaire anything.
I think he might find it hard living if grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants found his money no good in their shops. Businesses in California do not have to sell to everybody that walks in the door. While it might be possible to order groceries in via online purchases, having to drive out of the area to fill up the gas tank might be an issue.
If this guy has kids in local schools, parents can tell their children they aren't allowed to play with them. It's harsh, but effective.
Australia must be hard hit indeed. My spam trap is chock full of Special offers, requirements to re-verify my banking information, Viagra, Cialis, etc, Mail order brides, weight loss secrets, business opportunities, extra chances at salvation, lost lost relatives leaving me piles of cash, and on and on.
If Aussies get more, they must be drowning innit.
Maybe there will be a market for flights that are voice free.
Too many self-important oxygen thieves will want to talk away the entire flight. They already won't let me watch the un-cut version of "Fast cars, Big boobs and Guns" on my laptop (too many people would take offense).
It might actually be the other way around. Free on the budget airlines and an extra charge for the rest of the carriers.
I've noticed that internet is free at motels and and extra charge at hotels. The more posh the hotel, the higher the charge.
Search through the Materion (Brush-Wellman) site for their paper on Beryllium health issues. It's only a factor during the machining process where it can become airborne and thus inhaled. Once Beryllium is in a finished form, there isn't a health issue.
The expense is huge since it has to be machined/formed with specially modified machines that extract any chips/dust durning the process and capture it. There are only a few companies that are certified to do that work, Materion being one of the largest. It shouldn't be a problem to do it in Mexico, China or some other country with no/lax regulations other than getting the raw stock shipped there. Be is used in nuclear weapons and the men in suits take notice of people and companies that buy it.
Too bad there aren't many mechanical engineers in the world that can tell these companies that there are issues with making things too thin and expecting them to survive very long.
I know several people that left their iPhone naked.
They're called repeat customers.
You will only have issues with Be if you insist on sanding some off and bunging it up your nose. Sans an airborne vector, you will be just fine.
A better analogy would be having to pay a higher rate to ship a package based on what's in the box (content) instead of weight (file size).
Sounds like Oz hasn't figured out where they want to install their data aggregation facility yet.
Microsoft keeps trying to play catch up instead of innovating.
Why try to get into the tablet market with Surface when tablets are pouring out of China as commodity tat?
Why try to make a dent in the mobile phone market when Apple and Google/Android are so entrenched?
Bing? Good grief!
Instead, maybe M$ needs to build a non-Fisher Price looking OS. An office suite that is slimmer and snappier instead of bloated with "features" that seem custom crafted for script kiddies. A secure Skype like application that isn't back-doored to the NSA/GCHQ for a reasonable monthly fee.
I know that M$'s server software has more features than Apple's, but for SOHO installations, the ease of use of Apple Server is hard to beat. Why doesn't M$ put more development into usability? Are they scared that if it's too easy, people won't take it seriously?
He-2 isn't long lasting either. It's a smaller atom than H since H wants to put its arm around another H to make H2. He is a real bastard to seal up and it is used to as a leak detection gas when testing systems that need to be as gas tight as possible.
I'm going to hold out on investing in any drives that need to be run in a He atmosphere until there is some feedback on how well they hold up.
Chris Miller - If your power source is solar, turn over is going to be much less than half the distance as insolation will be dropping off as the square of the distance. Your estimated mass is also low. It's a much longer duration, more food, water, air and other consumables to bring along. More fuel for a lander. I would also expect that the mission would be more than flag planting, so there will be more supplies to do research with.
If the acceleration is only 0.1G, it's not going to be all that useful for astronaut health. A big problem is that we do not know how the human body reacts to different gravitational fields. The only data we have is 1G and 0G. This is why I advocate a return to the moon with stays long enough to get data on how the human body might adjust. It might be a big problem to find that after 2 years on Mars astronauts could not return to Earth. Then what? Continue to send them care packages indefinitely or apologize for abandoning them on another planet to die.
I'm having a bit of a problem with people that think 1kW or even 2.5kW is sufficient to complete a trip from Earth to Mars in a couple of weeks. Regardless of the method of propulsion, it takes a certain amount of energy a certain amount of time to accelerate a given mass to a specified velocity. I'll leave the math as an exercise for the student since I need to get to the post office before they close.
The Transport Evolved website reported previously about a site rumored to be being prepared for the Tesla-Panasonic(-US Government) Gigafactory. The report also stated that the construction company had been sacked after several weeks of running 24/7. Elon trying to be as mercurial as the late Steve Jobs?
The above link also states that Tesla's current production shut down to retool for the Model X should help boost annual projected shipments over the currently predicted 35,000 units. For reference, Ford builds ~35,000 F150 trucks every 36 hours.
Given that Tesla has situated their production facility in an area with one of the highest cost of living indexes, finding employees that can afford to work for reasonable wages might be a bigger stumbling block than the claimed limitations in battery supplies.
"we'd still need near-line generators that can be rapidly brought on line to meed transient demand or to fill in when there's little wind, this can be done with hydro or gas both of which can go from idle to generating in a few minutes,"
Many hydro installations can go from off to generating in 20-30 seconds. NG combustion plants take about 20 minutes and combined cycle natural gas turbines can take 40+ minutes to come online.
ISP's can just follow the American Internal Revenue Service and claim that the drive/tape/alien storage device containing the metadata failed and was disposed of. You know? that sort of thing happens quite frequently with consumer grade drives used in an enterprise application. Ask the experts. Since The Man® isn't shifting cash to the ISP's to buy these drives, there isn't any way they can afford more robust kit.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Most failed lawyers, err, I mean politicians, have no concept of what it takes to run a competitive business when their brain spasms get drafted into laws. Using the same logic, why not start requiring the post office to open, photocopy and store a copy of every piece of mail they handle in case the information is useful on the next witch hunt? Never mind the cost, just pass a law.
I haven't read the Verizon T&C's but I have read them from several other companies which leads me to use the phrase "unlimited, for a certain value of unlimited." Every T&C I HAVE read has a clause that allows the provider to throttle the bandwidth of any users they feel are using more than an average amount of data services. The exact wording I'd have to look up, but it's always very nebulous so the provider doesn't have to commit to a fixed number. I don't have any doubt that the top 5% of the users on any data service use a disproportionately large amount of total bandwidth.
No crime, nothing to see here. It's all written down and the user signed the form at the bottom.
"The card needs to be about a centimetre away from the yellow card reader before it will pick it up,"
That's just the software/firmware looking at signal strength. Cards can be read from further away less reliably, but the crooks aren't too chuffed if it coks up 50% of the time.
If you are handing your teenagers $600 smartphones, that's your poor judgement. If they just "have" to have the latest model or "they'll just die of embarrassment" maybe it's time they got a job or start thinking of how behind they would be with no phone at all.
Phones are a commodity item now. The factories that stamp out the iPhones and Galaxies are probably the same ones producing the off-brand stuff. I picked up a Blu Advance for $99 and it's given me good service for the last bunch of months. It also has dual sims that I use to have a personal and business line. Not going to get that with Samsung or Apple. I also have replaceable batteries (hello Apple!). At the end of the year I bet that I will be able to find another phone in the same price range with 2x the performance I have now and I can upgrade. I'll flog off the old phone if it's still alive and have an amortized capital outlay of $10-12/month instead of $60/month.
I started off unlocked and contract free with the Blu. I can swap between AT$T and T-mobile or one of several service resellers and keep my phone number to boot. Right now I'm with Net10 for $50 month, unlimited everything (for a certain value of unlimited).
I could get insurance, but it will likely be faster to just order up a replacement phone and pay for it myself rather than go through the hassle of dealing with the insurance provider. For me, time without the phone would be a bigger factor than spending the extra $10-$20 over what I would have paid into the insurance.
Gotta have the 3x3 protein style!
Executive bonuses first.
It would be handy to get an unregistered PP card when traveling to Europe from the US that uses a C&P system. Just something that will work for walking around money.
Altium and Solidworks both work ok under VMware Fusion on a Mac Pro, but if you are using them all of the time, a PC (win7) custom built for SW is the way to go. At my last job I had both a Mac and a PC for SW and Eagle. The PC was not allowed on the internet and stayed and clean the whole 3 years I was there. For all of my other work, I much preferred my Mac.
I had SW on VMware on the Mac so I could grab stuff from Content Central. I was laughed at for being paranoid at first, but that faded as everybody else spent far more time than I did on bug hunts.