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> Department of Labor can crack down on the company for not paying the "prevailing" wage.

That is technically true, but effectively impossible. The DoL simply does not pursue H1B abuses. They do not have the political will nor the budget to even look for them.

There is literally zero budget allocated to "prevailing wage" enforcement. That is a deliberate oversight by congress and has been that way for the 20+ years I've been observing the H1B process. To the best of my knowledge the DoL has only twice ever initiated action for H1B prevailing wage violations and in both cases it was the result of a disgruntled employee tipping them off to a series of violations that were so egregious that the political fallout of ignoring them would have gotten senior bureaucrats fired.

You might also want to read up on how classifications are gamed in order to work around even the very minor risk of prevailing wage violations.

http://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know-...

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The L1 visa program forbids placing the employee at a third party site as part of a labor arrangement. Thus the L1 visa is not applicable to this sort of "training." I'm sure plenty of L1 employers play fast and loose with that rule because there is essentially no formal enforcement mechanism. Nevertheless, H1B is the official visa for that sort of work.

http://www.technologyexecutivesclub.com/Articles/outsourcing...

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Correct, when a third-party is involved, it's no longer the same employer in both countries.

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Your point can not be emphasized enough.

In 2012, all 10 of the top 10 H1B employers were offshore outsourcing companies. http://www.epi.org/blog/top-10-h1b-guestworker-offshore-outs...

In 2013, 50% of all H1B visas went to offshore outsourcers. http://www.computerworld.com/article/2489146/technology-law-...

It is difficult for me to not say anything disparaging about Graham's analsysis of the problem being just "a handful of consulting firms" when it is actually the primary use of H1B visas.

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I don't think NSA people are evil. They believe that the things they do are for good.

Evil like in the movies doesn't exist. In the real-world evil is simply a lack of perspective (some would call it empathy instead).

No one ever wakes up and decides they want to be a villain. They always have some sort of logic that rationalizes their actions as being reasonable if not outright good. The more they act on that lack of perspective the greater the evil they perpetrate.

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Reminds me of the movie The Cube[1].

Some select quotes (minor spoiler alert):

"There is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan."

"It's all the same machine, right? The Pentagon, multinational corporations, the police. If you do one little job, you build a widget in Saskatoon, and the next thing you know, it's two miles under the desert, the essential component of a death machine."

Quentin: But why put people in it?

Worth: Because it's here. You have to use it, or you admit that it's pointless.

Quentin: But it is pointless.

Worth: Quentin... that's my point.

[1] https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-cube/

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These quotes are from the 1997 film Cube [1], not the 1969 The Cube [2] of your rotten tomatoes link.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cube_(film)

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cube_(film)

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Ok, if ever there was a time to bring out this particularly good industrial/ebm album, it is right now. In particular, this track, which includes samples of the above quotes:

    DIN_FIV
    Escape To Reality
    Track #3 - "Conspiracy"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ktuDmEAv8

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I agree that normal people are generally not evil, but sociopaths can very much be indistinguishable from some particularly evil movie-characters.

I worked with a sociopath in the past and have studied it in literature, and a sociopath by definition sees meeting their own needs as a priority. Regardless of the effect on those around them.

A sociopath is willing to inflict suffering on others for even minor gains of their own. Sociopaths seek out high-power positions and often thrive in them, and those working with them often suffer as a consequence.

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You know, people talk about sociopaths a lot, and I get why, but I have a problem with the definition. The idea is that a sociopath is someone who lacks empathy (or, so I've read, is able to switch off their empathy) and prioritises their own needs. The behaviour is characterised as selfish, as in putting themselves first. This doesn't really make sense to me, because there's an implicit assumption about what actually benefits the sociopath.

Taking a step back, as far as I can see, a sociopath is someone who (either by choice or by nature) prioritises certain social drives over other social drives. The drives to be empathic and obey social expectations, norms and rules get ignored. However, the drives for status, money and power are prioritised above all others. These drives are still social in nature. They don't actually convey a fundamental biological advantage.

I personally choose to aim to be a warm and caring human being, and, as a consequence of that, I have a really great relationship with my girlfriend. When we have kids, our kids will grow up in a loving supportive environment and so will have a good chance of growing up strong and well balanced. Being a sociopath would probably get me more material possessions, but I would have had to settle for an emotionally weaker partner (who I could dominate) and I would end up with messed up kids with a lower chance of success and survival.

From my own personal experience, people who fit the sociopathic archetype aren't really like evil villains. They're more like computer game addicts, fixated on goals that don't bring them happiness, and that get in the way of forming genuine connections with other human beings. I can see why people who are the victims of their behaviour characterise it as selfish, because they see the world as a competition for money, status and power and they think they are losing out. However, that competition is just a game, and the grand prize is not happiness.

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I would be very curious to see a study of what you point out. Are some people exhibiting negative sociopathic traits simply because of their upbringing or social context?

Although I find these points interesting, it does seem to me like this leads us into the age-old philosophy discussion on ethics. It seems like ethics can be argued to be based on intention, effect, something else, or all. I have read about sociopaths that are experienced by others as good people. However, a sociopath seem to have a stunted emotional life and I am sure this disability will always have numerous subtle negative effects on people that have an emotional relationship with them (e.g wife, kids, friends).

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That's not entirely true. Like 4% of people are sociopaths with an inability to feel empathy for others or feel guilt for their actions. There really are evil people who know what they are doing is wrong and just don't care.

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You are the second person to bring up sociopaths as if they don't match the definition of evil I wrote above. The thing is, they are the very personification of lacking empathy. They believe that their own welfare is more important than anyone else's. They don't see that as evil, they see it as the way of the world.

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The point is they don't rationalize or justify what they do, they simply don't care. They know it's wrong (by societies/normal people's) standards, but it doesn't violate their own.

This is what I consider evil, and I think it's important to separate it from people who think what they are doing is ok. I.e. "Someone else would have done it anyways", a thief who steals from a bank because "they have insurance" or "they are rich assholes who don't deserve it", or a dictator who tries to do what he thinks is best for the country even though his policies are bad.

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They know it's wrong (by societies/normal people's) standards, but it doesn't violate their own.

Tou keep saying that, but it doesn't mean what you think it means.

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Indeed. But also imagine that as an engineer on any secret NSA project, being shown real information regarding atrocities that have never been publicised and knowing that you can help to make the world a better place. You would have the passion and motivations to do these things and have meaning in your life and work.

Evil in this case is an aggregation of actions by many parties, not individuals and is rarely committed by the tool makers. However, it's always justified by the perpetrators.

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imagine that as an engineer on any secret NSA project, being shown real information regarding atrocities that have never been publicised and knowing that you can help to make the world a better place.

Yep. Of course if that engineer had perspective he would have to wonder if there was more to the story than just what he was being shown. It is easy to doubt the people we already think are wrong, the hard thing is to doubt the people we agree with.

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I completely agree. I am really tired of that Brin story being constantly cited by people without thinking through the consequences - of which there are many.

One of the biggest is the destruction of creativity. When people know that their actions are under constant surveillance it creates an enormous cognitive load. They have to constantly evaluate everything they do as to how it might appear to a critical observer. The end result is that people will simply stop doing anything that might have a social risk associated with it.

A panopticon society will be a dull, stagnant and repressed society. Think of every little backwards town where everybody knows everybody's business and anyone who steps out of line is ostracized. That is what our entire society will turn into with total surveillance.

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i think @daveid's point is common, and i haven't actually read anything by Brin on the matter so i don't know what counterpoint he might make. maybe tracking itself would be tracked? maybe person X is watching you watch person Y? i think in general, however, with that much information, people will simply not care what everyone else is doing. part of what makes "private" information interesting is its rarity.

and i don't think anyone claims it wouldn't be a different culture, or that we should throw away core privacy like being able to sleep in our own beds without someone watching

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with that much information, people will simply not care what everyone else is doing. part of what makes "private" information interesting is its rarity.

That's basically Brin's theory and it is a bad one because it assumes, against all evidence to the contrary, that people will just simply stop looking for ways to judge other people as being inferior.

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For anyone who doesn't already know or wouldn't be willing to spend the $100 for Global Entry + PreCheck

These programs are the ultimate sign of just how pointless airport security is. There is simply no way that $100 is even remotely enough money to cover an investigation of any effectiveness whatsoever. It's probably just enough to cover the cost of checking the same lists the TSA already checks on every ticket booked and then adding you to the list of people who get to skip security most of the time.

Those programs are just a way for the TSA to co-opt the ire of the kind of rich and powerful people who might have the political influence to reform the agency. 10 to 1 every member of congress has signed up for Pre-Check. If you believe that the TSA is defending against a real threat, these programs, by their very existence, create a giant gaping hole in the TSA's security. The only reason it hasn't been used to perpetrate an attack is because there is effectively no risk in the first place.

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You're totally right, of course. My in-person security interview was a joke. The officer didn't even try to ask any questions. He validated my contact information and we shot the shit while their computer system logged his approval of my application. Took maybe 15 minutes of waiting my turn with a half dozen other poor saps who had also scheduled the interview 2-3 months in advance, and then 5 minutes for the actual processing.

Interestingly, my airport now has a third(!) category of security line, for airline elevated status holders. They skip the long line for the normal screenings, but then go through the normal "remove shoes, belts, jackets and laptops" part, so it's like getting half a reprieve. I'm convinced that by this time next year there will be have so much dilution of the process that everyone will be treated identically again and it'll probably be based on the Pre-Check standards: x-ray machine, no significant liquids, no removal of shoes/belt/jacket.

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An attack on an airplane is simply too challenging for the vast majority of people to execute. Is it impossible? No, but almost nothing is impossible.

I don't think you are making the point you intend to make - the very fact that pulling off a successful attack is inherently difficult is what stops those people, not any security agency.

Same thing with attacks anywhere else. For example: The Times Square bomber couldn't even build a working bomb despite two college degrees and the 2007 London & Glasgow Airport bombers couldn't figure it out either, for their swan song they put propane tanks in their jeep cherokee, lit themselves on fire and drove into a barricade in front of the airport, despite one of them having a doctor's education.

In all of its existence, the TSA has never detained someone who was later convicted on terrorism charges, despite the vast lowering of the standard of evidence for such charges since 9/11. The fact that we've seen so few attacks on "softer" targets (roughly 3 civilians have been killed in islamic-extremist attacks on US soil since 9/11) means that the size of the actual threat is practically zero - including the fools.

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There was a shooting at LA just weeks ago. Lots of less than spectacular events have occurred on soft targets over the past 10 years. Each of those may have easily converted in to a more spectacular attack.

The marathon bombers were targeting the marathon for the message. They may have choosen to use an airliner to make that message had it not been for TSA. We don't know. There just isn't quality enough data on either side to remove airport security.

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There was a shooting at LA just weeks ago.

You mean Paul Anthony Ciancia who was pissed off about all the excessive security and deliberately targeted TSA agents hoping to commit suicide-by-cop?

Lots of less than spectacular events have occurred on soft targets over the past 10 years. Each of those may have easily converted in to a more spectacular attack.

Citing all attacks anywhere as justification for the TSA is a recipe for the unlimited ratcheting up of security. It is an enormous leap in logic to assume somebody with a semi-auto rifle or a crock-pot bomb is capable of getting them past pre-911 airport security and also doing something effective with it once they have. An attack on an airplane is simply too challenging for the vast majority of people to execute.

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--off topic

I see that all of your HN story submissions are marked [dead] as soon as you submit them. Do you know why that is happening to you? It started happening to me a couple of days ago without any explanation.

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Hey , today it happened as I wrote title and and link but didn't click submit button, by the time it was dead. I clicked "back" in the browser and submitted again , it was dead for 3-4 times and 5th time it got posted. I think when you want to post new story you should not wait too long (>10 minutes) to click submit button or else it will be dead

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I just looked at your submission history again and even the most recent one "Game industry of Finland" on slideshare is marked [dead].

Looking back through your history, the last 129 submissions are all [dead] it changed right between #129 and #130.

Your #130 was "Startup - Bill Watterson, a cartoonist's advice" which got 192 karma points, but starting with #129 "Brilliant Resource on Typography (practicaltypography.com)" posted one day later, everything is marked [dead].

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But I recently posted a poll 3 days back which got 70 upvotes and it came on first page (top 10). Surprising is that I can't see [dead] alongside my post when i see my submission history

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Yeah, that poll is the one anomaly. Go to your profile and set "showdead" to yes, I think that will let you see all [dead] posts and submissions.

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I found out , problem is our submission rights have been taken , it might be due to reposting and deleting stories, or might be due to posting irrelevant material which is of no relevance to HN community .

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Where do you find that? Is there some sort of recourse?

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Send gentle mail to HN , they might give your submission rights back.

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Thanks, but I think I will take it as a sign that I should just move on to some other site. The internet is a big place.

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You left out the biggest problem with the Post Office - it is often closed when you have the free time to go there.

I've been using private mailbox services for nearly 2 decades now and they have it all over the USPS PO. 24-hour package pickup. They throw away junkmail for you. They will text you when you have a package. They can accept shipments from any carrier - USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.

They will forward mail in batches to another address, say you moved out of state but still want your old address to keep working for another 6 months. If you file a change-of-address form with the USPS they sell that info to anybody with a couple of dollars (like your college alumni association and any other charity you ever donated to). Some will even open your mail for you, scan it and email it to you.

Plus, the address looks like an apartment but it is not your home address - so telling someone where to mail you doesn't also tell them where you live.

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I don't see "having the crap beat out it in production" as a good strategy here

Absolutely. The people who will pay the price for that design philosophy are not the ones making the decision to use that design philosophy.

It really doesn't matter if poor security engineering is the common case, we should expect better from a modern system with the budget of a federal project and the legal requirement that we use it.

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I hope I don't sound like I'm sticking up for the procurement process that generated this site. The site was bought was, I'm sure, a pile of poop. I just have trouble with people's utterly unrealistic expectations of how security works in real applications. Forget Healthcare.gov; I mean real applications, ones people rely on every day.

Nothing is secure from the start. Everything has bugs.

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Nothing is secure from the start. Everything has bugs.

Sure, all aspects of programming are subject to bugs. My concern with the site is an apparent lack of design for security. Admittedly the linked article only talks about symptoms, I'm inferring poor design from a previous article which said the developers put security at the bottom of the list of priorities.

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