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Messages - Doktor Howl

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My life now basically revolves around analysis.  Projects and cases start with a lack of data and are closed on my terms.

"My terms" does not mean input from bean counters 2200 miles from my facilities.  Nor does it mean an arbitrary set of decisions made by people who are not actually in the decision-making team.  Everyone else's jobs look easy, so why NOT tell Doktor Howl how he should do his job?  I can actually answer that question, though, as I have a great deal of pent-up wrath that needs disposing of, and I don't believe in raining that sort of shit down on my subordinates.

Example:  My unionized employees get time and a half on Saturday and double time on Sunday, and we bid a project accordingly.  The guys all took one day off later in the week (our week goes Saturday to Friday) for some R&R, as we are going to be working for several weekends.

Useless Payroll Object emails me and tells me that they're not getting OT for Sunday because they all took a weekday off.  No 40 hours, no overtime.

But the contract doesn't say that.  It says "Any work suffered on Saturday is time and a half, and any work suffered on Sunday is at double time."

Useless Payroll Object says that *offends* her, and sends the wrong incentives and why do they all get a one hour lunch instead of a half hour?

I once again explain that A) the contract is clear, B) we bid this job at overtime and double time, and if we pay our people less, we've committed a federal crime, and C) neither of those things care if her little authoritarian heart is offended by the idea that we pay people extra for extra work.

She argued some more, so I fed her to the union rep.  The End.

Interviewing younger millennials is fun.  Billy and I had the privilege today.

Me:  "So, let's see.  You have a double major in biology and mathematics from the U of A.  3.8 GPA.  Very impressive."

Tina:  "Thank you."

Me:  "Don't thank me, you did it.  Anyway, you know what we do here?"

Tina:  "The ad said statistical analysis on existential threats."

Me:  "Yes.  Ads lie, though.  What we do is extract money from <agency>, because <agency> cannot be trusted with money."

Tina:  "Excuse me?"

Me:  "Your university degree requirements included history, yes?"

Tina:  "Of course."

Me:  "Then you should know that <agency> cannot be trusted with money.  Because money is power, and <agency> goes absolutely berserk with any amount of power it may have.  This is documented fact."

Billy:  "It's true."

Me:  "So while we do in fact spend a lot of time crunching numbers on various end of civilization scenarios, that is in fact secondary."

Billy:  "Because <agency> having money is actually one of those scenarios."

Tina:  "..."

Me:  "So we take the money and spend it wisely."

Tina:  "What counts as wisely?"

Me:  "Right now, it's a death ray."

Tina:  "WHAT?"

Me:  "Just kidding.  Mostly we spend the money on contractors that help us find new problems that require money.  Think of us as the brakes on an overheated, out of control system that is full of crazy people."

Tina:  "Yes.  Crazy people.  I see."

Billy:  "Are you having some kind of ethical crisis here?"

Tina:  "Yes, and I'm not sure..."

Me:  "Your salary will be <amount>.  Not bad for right out of college."

Tina:  "..."

Me:  "Let's go talk to the senior director.  I'd like to start you as soon as your clearance goes through."

Tina:  "..."

Me:  "If he starts screaming for no reason, just pretend it's not happening.  He'll stop soon enough."

Tina:  "..."

Billy:  "Welcome to The Corporation, Tina."

Me:  "We're going to do great things."

Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 05, 2022, 04:19:19 am »
And while I've been preoccupied with this, SCOTUS basically dismantled Roe v Wade.

They'll be after the Gays next.

Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 05, 2022, 04:17:00 am »
That's hopefully good news, bloods can mess with the brain bad, but at least if it's corona that should subside once its run its course

They expect her to recover in all respects, but it will be a while.

I just thank god my folks are reasonably well off.  If they weren't, she'd have been put in a psychiatric hospital, and would have been dead a few days ago.

Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 05, 2022, 04:15:45 am »
If it's rare, I'm guessing they know diddly shit about the illness itself. But they can treat the symptoms, right? Are they doing anything?

Yeah, they're bringing her sodium up slowly (she was at 124), and an odd antipsychotic.  She's not a danger to herself anymore, but she'll be in the hospital for a while. 

Turns out it was gradually-reducing sodium due to cancer meds, then she got covid and BANG.

She was vaccinated but, you know, cancer patient.  She has about 25% the right amount of white blood cells, so she's gonna be a while.

Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 04, 2022, 03:33:45 am »
So it turns out she has Covid psychosis.

Because why wouldn't my family get the weirdest, rarest version?

Anyway, the prognosis is good if she survives the virus, which is not attacking her lungs but instead making her blood chemistry go berserk.  High sodium, high ammonia, etc.  We are told her odds are "fair".

So, the genius thing about IT "security" is having to change your password periodically.  Which means people don't remember them.  Which means people write them down.

People like my new boss.


Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 01, 2022, 05:20:59 pm »
I'm so sorry, that's up there with my worst fears.

Yeah, it terrified my grandfather, but all he had was the normal memory loss you'd get with being 99 years old.

Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: May 01, 2022, 03:20:34 am »
My mom asked me who I was today.

Apple Talk / Re: Banned on FB again.
« on: April 27, 2022, 08:28:13 pm »
What now?

Threatening to beat up the Catholic Church.

I am mighty, and they fear my wrath.

Apple Talk / Re: A thought experiment
« on: April 27, 2022, 02:53:56 am »
Yeah, but you're not in the rocket biz. The idea is to look for the characteristics you actually want, in an unexpected, time sensitive situation -- the Ignition! anecdote is just the example that came to mind. I don't have specific suggestions for your situation, they're going to be hugely dependent on your company, the position, the work being done, and the attitude required. But if you can find a way to get usable information on those necessary characteristics, that seems the most fair and safety-conscious approach.

Better than gambling with raw experience, too. Could be mister Twenty Years has never had something go catastrophically wrong, or dealt with a dickhanded moron fucking up everything they need to do, or whatever variety of exciting failure is relevant to you.

I'm just saying, I bet every engineer in the area jumped 3 feet up when the Vanguard launch went bad.

Apple Talk / Banned on FB again.
« on: April 27, 2022, 02:52:01 am »
Just 24 hours.  I can do that on my head.   :lulz:

Apple Talk / Re: The Compleat Billy Chronicles (thanks to Zenpatista)
« on: April 27, 2022, 01:57:30 am »
I got a call from a colleague who is still in the biz, although at a different company that I was at.

They tried to design a drone that would mine metals out of landfills, but they forgot to put in any kind of IFF.

So the drones scrapped each other, as they were the highest concentration of metal in the immediate area.

This makes me feel even more optimistic about the future than I normally am.

Apple Talk / Re: A thought experiment
« on: April 27, 2022, 01:41:52 am »
If you can devise a way to test how the two will perform under pressure, that'd solve the problem of selection involving risk. It won't necessarily solve the problem of an all-white engineering staff, but at least you'll know it wasn't a decision made that has anything to do with race (which isn't BETTER, but does show you tried to avoid it at least). And it opens up tantalizing new possibilities, like "I wouldn't actually trust either of these guys near anything sharper than a butter knife".

I'm reminded of a bit from Ignition!, by John Clark. He'd invite new applicants into his office, then have an assistant set off a loud chemical reaction behind them while they were invited to look closely at something. If they jumped ten feet and knocked water on the cat, no good, cut 'em loose. If they managed to stay calm, they'd be a good fit for the rocket business. I don't know what work you're doing, but if you can find a way to make a similar test, to create sudden, job-relevant panic in a controlled environment, you're probably on track.

It's unorthodox, but it's the best answer I got.

I don't want to employ people that don't react to explosions.   :sad:

It seems like a sure-fire recipe for the wrong kind of hilarity.

Apple Talk / A thought experiment
« on: April 27, 2022, 01:08:23 am »
Okay, so let's assume you own or are the CEO of a business that is intrinsically dangerous.  Let's say it's a steel mill.

Your engineering department is small and entirely or almost entirely white.  Because it's always been that way.

Your floor employees are disproportionately people of color.

An engineer retires, and you are now critically short-handed.  You get two resumes on your desk.  One is from a white dude with 20 years of experience, and the other is a black dude with a rock solid set of scores in engineering school but no practical experience.  You have the budget to hire one of them.

Affirmative Action gives you incentive to hire the black dude, who is also cheaper due to his lack of experience, but he's more or less on his own.  If he makes mistakes, the people on the floor (again, mostly POC) will be exposed to additional risk to life and limb.  Which is no small thing in a steel mill.

If you hire the white dude, his experience makes him cost more but there is less risk to the floor employees, but you have once again established that your upper echelons are white, and will remain so until the next engineer retires, whereupon you will be faced with the same dilemma.

What is the ethical solution?

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