Sunday, 29 December 2013

09:15 – Cool, rainy days yesterday and today. Our official month-to-date rain is about 5 inches (12.5 cm), but according to our own rain gauge we’re up over 7 inches.

Interesting article in the morning paper: The world braces for retirement crisis

The mainstream media is belatedly realizing just how bad things are. Even now, many people can’t afford to retire at 65, or even 70. As the years pass, this is going to get worse, much worse. With more and more older people expecting fewer and fewer younger people to support them, something has to give. Particularly since more and more of those younger people have crap jobs or no jobs, a phenomenon that is exacerbated by many of those older people hanging onto their jobs for dear life.


18 thoughts on “Sunday, 29 December 2013”

  1. I’m expecting generational war in the US. Probably it won’t come to mobs of 20-somethings breaking into nursing homes and killing everyone there, but at some point the younger is going to wake up and realize how they’ve been screwed over in terms of education and how they’ve had mountains of debt dumped on them by the boomers.

    The question is, what will the youngsters do? Piss and moan on Facebook while continuing to get screwed? Physically attack older people? Go Galt? Elect some smooth-talking populist who promises to redistribute wealth fairly?

  2. Fair redistribution of the wealth is what Obummer wants. He is railing against the supposed widening gap between the rich and poor. He will help solve this by allowing another 20 million to immigrate from Mexico. Of course, the previous millions increased the below poverty line population.

  3. From the article:

    “Mikio Fukushima, who is 52 and lives in Tokyo, is typical of those facing an uncertain retirement. Fukushima, who works in private investment, worries that he might have to move somewhere cheaper, maybe Malaysia, after age 70 to get by comfortably on income from his investments and a public pension of just $10,000 a year.”

    This sort of problem has been around for ages; British army officers in the Thirties sometimes retired to Spain, where they could live much more cheaply than in Britain.

    At my former workplace people are fretting about the possibility of losing their jobs, and at the same time there are reports of a critical shortage of workers with IT skills. Why anyone would want to work for the government nowadays is beyond me.

    I retired at 55 because I could afford to and I hated my job. I’d go back to work tomorrow to a position I liked.

  4. Why anyone would want to work for the government nowadays is beyond me.

    In the US, government jobs are usually sweet gigs. In general, pay is comparable to private sector pay, security is much better, and benefits are much better. Sure, there’s a certain amount of bullshit you have to deal with, but that’s the case in every job.

    Regarding pay, this is highly variable between governments (ie, federal vs state vs local, and between states), the type of work you do, and how good you are. Lumpenprogrammers do much better “working” for the government, because they generally aren’t good enough to get and keep a job in industry. High performers in tech fields can make more in industry but they also have to work much harder and take risks — get in on a startup and either ride it up to fortune or crash and burn and have to start over. Many people, especially women and married men, are averse to that kind of risk.

    As stated up top, this is in the US. What are the differences between government and private employment elsewhere?

  5. Stop calling Social Security “Entitlement”!!! Leave the funds intact for the Intended Reason!!!! Let Medicare/Medicaid be the LIMIT!!! Read “Obumacare”, year 2050 there will be no Medicare/Medicaid??? Phased out??? Doesn’t anybody see what this coming tooooo??? The Democrats are just coming in the back door!!!!! Saul Alinsky and the Clintons are winning…….

  6. Stop calling Social Security “Entitlement”!!!

    Who did that? Social Security is actually in good shape and will be in better shape soon since so many people are taking a lower check in exchange for taking it earlier.

    Let Medicare/Medicaid be the LIMIT!!!

    Like it not, the number of people with health insurance is rapidly dropping in the USA. Extending Medicare to all citizens, not undocumented aliens, is a natural change for me. Medicaid will continue on it’s death spiral.

    BTW, just because Medicare is “free” (it is not!), there are very costly portions of it. My parents pay over $1,000 per month for additional fees and insurances (part B, part D, gap insurance, extended stay insurance, etc).

  7. BTW2, now Social Security disability is a very bad shape. So many people have jumped on it since they cannot find a job and have serious physical disabilities. Plus, getting on SSI automatically puts you on Medicare, even if you are not 65 yet.

    My BIL was on disability for over a year (age 55) while he was getting his ankle plated and screwed and then his knee replaced. He went back to work against the union shop steward wishes and got him all upset. Same thing with my cousin’s husband (age 48) while getting his knee replaced.

  8. The question is, what will the youngsters do? Piss and moan on Facebook while continuing to get screwed? Physically attack older people? Go Galt? Elect some smooth-talking populist who promises to redistribute wealth fairly?

    Single Payer Plan for “free” health care will even the dole in the youngsters minds. After all, their minds are full of mush and do not comprehend payroll taxes. One of my favorite movie lines, “who is this fica dude and why is he getting $20 out of my paycheck?”.

  9. SteveF wrote:

    “In the US, government jobs are usually sweet gigs. In general, pay is comparable to private sector pay, security is much better, and benefits are much better. Sure, there’s a certain amount of bullshit you have to deal with, but that’s the case in every job.”

    Public Service jobs in Australia used to be sweet gigs: often lower pay but fantastic retirement benefits, “job security”, and so on. From 1980-1985 I really liked it, from 1985-1990 I loved it and would have worked for nothing if I didn’t need the dough. It got steadily worse after that. When I left I was writing about five lines of code a *month*, the rest was bureaucratic bullshit.

    People who worked in the private sector told me that their management was just as bad. I managed to keep my employer from making an utterly stupid hardware and software purchase in 1988, saving over a million bucks up front and undoubtedly much more further down the track. But hardly anyone knew.

  10. When I left I was writing about five lines of code a *month*,

    Oh my goodness, what a sad life!

    I code to live, live to code! I don’t have those 1,000 line C++ or Fortran days anymore but I can still pound out a 100 lines of code a day when things get rolling.

  11. 100 a day is easy, especially in Fortran or Pascal. 1000 lines a day in C++? You’re better than me.

  12. Just spent three hours debugging fortran code with my lead calculation engine programmer to fix one line of code. Today is not the highly productive day. And tomorrow probably will not be either. But the user scratching his head saying that these two things are not alike and they should be … is happier, I hope.

    BTW, the sum total of our fortran and C++ code is approaching two million lines. It is easy to get lost in the twisty passages around here.

  13. I wrote net 0 lines of code today. I worked on tracking down a problem which is sure looking like a botch by the project manager/sorta team lead, I worked on changes to the deployment instructions with the person who does part of the deployment, I arranged a training meeting, I tracked down another mysterious problem which is sure looking like a botch by the team lead, I trained the team lead on something she should already know. Some days I manage to get some coding done. This was not one of them.

  14. Lines of code is a funny measure. I once cranked out a 10,000 line system in three months, and was hugely proud of the result. I use a lot of abstraction in my programming, so my code is pretty compact.

    On the other hand, I had a third-semester student hand in a program where one single method in one class contained 9000 lines of code. Most of the code was redundant, for example, the same formatting code copied-and-pasted for every single item present in the user interface. If the student had understood abstraction, or even how to write decent methods, the whole thing could have been cooked down to a couple hundred lines.

    Back when I was first starting 30 years ago, I ran across a nice saying that I’ve never been able to find again. It was about system maintenance, and classified programmers into three categories. The highest category was the guru, who added functionality by deleting code.

    In any case, like Lynn, I love programming. I wish GUIs would write themselves – more tedious code has never been invented – but that just provides an incentive to write “meta” classes that put the GUI together automatically.

  15. When I enjoyed my programming most, from 1985-1990, I did a lot in Fortran, Pascal and Compass (CDC Cyber assembler). I, and the others, re-used code from existing programs where possible, but that was mainly boring, routine stuff. I could knock out code pretty quickly then, when I liked what I was doing. Peripheral Processor Compass was a bit of a challenge: you has 4k 12 bit words and the only way to debug t was to dump core and analyse it.

  16. Our GUI code is Win32 C++ and a freaking maelstrom of over 900,000 lines of code. The main window code and all of the modeless windows use MFC. All of the modal dialogs (300+ of those little monsters) use our own user interface library where every dialog is a separate class. As a result, we have a several hundred classes descended from ObjPtr -> WindowsObject -> DialogObject -> XDialog -> FmDialog -> DesDialog (lots of history in those names). It is a good organization with inheritance used to the max everywhere that we can get away with it.

    Our calculation engine is 900,000 lines of mostly Fortran 77 code with 10,000 lines of C and C++ thrown in for grins. It is a freaking disaster as it dates back to the early 1960s and has been Frankensteined (adding other programs to it) several times over the years.

  17. Lines of code is a funny measure.

    Yes, my definition of a line of code is a single line of whatever. Many shops such as Microsoft count semicolons as lines of code. I believe this to be false economy. Mine is blank lines, comment lines, an actual line of code or one line of a statement that continues onto the next line (or 100 lines).

    Comments are very valuable to me. Back in the day when we were storing our code repository on a Univac 1108 drum drive, every word (six bytes) was very important. So, we actively discouraged comment lines and variable names were limited to six characters (preferably one character). When we moved on to bigger and better computers, this habit of terseness was unfortunately maintained and promoted by several guilty parties. So now, I have entire subroutines without a single comment in them. And T for temperature, P for pressure, X for liquid flowrates, Y for vapor flowrates, F for feed flowrates, and so on and so forth.

    Of course, the comments in the code can be true, misleading (much more common than you think), outdated or outright false. But the mere presence of a comment means that at some time, somebody actually thought that they understand what in the world was going on in the next one to 1,000 lines of code.

    My personal favorite in our code is something like “X(I)=0.88546*Y(I)/T**2” with zero comments. No explanation as to where the equation came from, what the equation results are (lbmole/hr, kgmol/sec, mole fraction, mass fraction) nor what the 0.88546 constant is (might be a reduction of several dimensional unit changes or some measured vapor to liquid relationship).

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