Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Q&A - 14/6

News

Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven may be partly stolen, judge says [..]

Insane

The song judge claims Zeppelin partly stole from sounds nothing like STH. The only similar part is here, and it repeats for a while, but that's all.. To say this is an example of theft is like saying Magnum P. I. stole its idea from Sherlock Holmes. They are both about detectives, and crime solving aren't they ?! There you go! Busted.

Copyright, its enforcement, this entire scheme around content is getting out of hand. I am already firmly against software patents, copyright on music is another ineffective, unworkable idea IMHO.

News

Bees can solve complex mathematical problems [..].The insects learn to fly the shortest route between flowers discovered in random order, effectively solving the "travelling salesman problem [TSP]" , said scientists [..]

Most Likely Not

TSP is a hard computer science problem, given a list of cities and distances between them, finding the shortest route after a visit to each city once and returning to the starting point. In computational complexity terms, TSP is NP-Hard - meaning all possibilities must be tried out.

I know I shared this before on amoebaes, but there is a big difference between anticipating periodicity and solving an NP-hard problem - the latter has much bigger implications. The bees might have solved this problem approximately, and that's fine, but the approximate solution is already known by CS researchers as well.

This person has the right idea.

The Week

[T]he groups working the longest hours are the ones who enjoy the most privilege: white upper-class men. That's striking, since more leisure time has traditionally been associated with privilege. As Boushey and Ansel point out, "If you Google the definition of 'bankers' hours,' it refers to the 'short working hours' bankers used to enjoy, which is certainly not the case today." In America over the last few decades, the association between leisure and privilege has been flipped on its head.

What happened?

First, we've gone through several decades now where there's basically always been more people looking for work than jobs available. Workers are competing for jobs, rather than employers competing for workers, so everyone — including professional-class white men — is worried about losing his or her job.[..]

Second, the highest paying industries are also incredibly cut-throat. This brings us to Boushey and Ansel's other finding: The professions with the biggest income gaps between their lowest and the highest paid workers were also the professions where people were the most likely to work more than 40 hours a week.[..]

On the other end of the spectrum, many people aren't allowed to work longer hours. Because workers can be so easily replaced, employers are free to put people to work sporadically and chaotically, especially in low-income service sectors. Racial minorities and African-Americans especially tend to be the first ones pushed into the surplus labor pool when this happens. Mothers, who still basically get no support from the U.S. government, are also forced to tap out of the workforce to take care of their children.

We used to think that as living standards improved, less work would deliver more income and thus more leisure time. But now, more and more work hours are what everyone's after. Because in today's economy, the alternative to working more isn't enjoying quality time with friends and family. The alternative is nothing. The American workplace has basically become a Thunderdome where the victors are rewarded with long hours.[..]

[L]onger work hours and who gets those hours is ultimately a function of a sick economy, the answer is to fix the whole thing.

Yep