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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday April 12 2014, @08:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the If-only-we-had-crumbling-infrastructure-in-need-of-repair. dept.

Barry Levine writes that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging environmentalists to have some compassion for the coal miners they help put out of work because they can't be easily retrained to do other jobs. "Mark Zuckerberg says you can teach them to code and everything will be great. I don't know how to break it to you but no" said Bloomberg. "You're not going to teach a coal miner to code." Bloomberg, who is an environmental activist, said while he gives "a lot of money to the Sierra Club" to shut down coal-fired power plants and to promote green energy projects, society needs to "have some compassion to do it gently."

Thousands of coal mining jobs have been shed throughout the country, there were about two thousand fewer coal miners in March 2014 than at the same time last year. Coal-reliant states, like Kentucky have been hit especially hard with more than 2,200 mining jobs lost in that state alone last year a 23 percent decline. Bloomberg suggested subsidies to help displaced workers, like coal miners, and maybe even retaining. But Bloomberg said retraining isn't always an option, especially in an economy becoming increasingly tech savvy. Bloomberg stressed the need for the retraining to be "realistic."

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gishzida on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:04AM

    by gishzida (2870) on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:04AM (#30479) Journal

    Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?"

    To be less sarcastic: The success of retraining depends on the desire of the person being trained and the actual "meaningfulness" of the new job. Inn 1996 I was accepted into a 6 month government sponsored retraining program to retrain 60 displaced "technical people" in network administration. I think I am the only person in that retraining class that actually got a job as an admin. It wasn't that they weren't capable [some were employees of Packard-Bell computer which moved out of L.A. after the 1994 earthquake] one was even a "network architect" [i.e. routers and protocols]. I happened to be the "rocket-science-technician" of the group.

    Where reality hits the pavement is how desirable the new job is actuality, how willing the trainees are [do they want the training and possibly pull up roots], and, most importantly, how potential employers view them. Given that ageism is part of the new group-think of corporate America, you can be sure that the people over 50 are not going to be considered as useful... and won't be hired.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by BsAtHome on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:45AM

      by BsAtHome (889) on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:45AM (#30492)

      > I happened to be the "rocket-science-technician" of the group.

      Let me then put the sarcasm hat on; in the land of the blind, one-eye is King.

      The fact that one can do a job does not necessarily mean you can do a /good/ job. To get back on topic, trying to teach coding to anybody is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There a are probably some who can learn to do a decent job (and will succeed at it), but most will be mediocre or right-out bad coders. Do we really need more bad code? Haven't you ever read thedailywtf?

      China once ordered the entire peasant workforce to make steel because they had not enough and wanted to become more industrialized. How hard could it be to build an oven and make steel? The quality of their produce was so low that it could not be used for anything useful in particular. Lesson: even if you can produce something, it does not follow that it can be used for anything if the quality cannot match the demand.

      BTW, the fact that hiring practices are age-discriminatory does not change the quality of the re-schooled workers. It is a (bad) societal problem. It also goes for people who have been in the loop previously and have the talent. They also get discriminated.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:24AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:24AM (#30512) Journal

        China once ordered the entire peasant workforce to make steel

        They also made brick factories. I understand the main product of the brick factories was more brick factories.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by captain normal on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:57PM

        by captain normal (2205) on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:57PM (#30542)

        The key is in your last sentence..."have the talent". Coding, like many other complex activities (music, design, finance, science...) requires a certain amount of talent in addition to many hours of practice on top of knowledge. There well may be some people in the coal mining areas who can be good coders. The problem is that not everyone is (nor should be) inclined to write code. Any retraining program should be geared toward getting people to find their own individual talent and develop that.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Saturday April 12 2014, @06:11PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @06:11PM (#30569) Journal

          The key is in your last sentence..."have the talent"

          And yet, Bloomberg was pilloried for making the statement. He was outright accused of insulting miners' intelligence.

          True, there may be a couple of latent programmers working in the coal mines simply because that was the job available in their area, and it was necessary to put food on the table.

          Coal miners make pretty decent money these days. (Arguably better than programmers, at almost twice the national average [nma.org] income). They can afford the latest computer gadgets. Its not like they have zero exposure to the tech sector.

          Today's workforce is mobile and fluid. People aren't born into jobs anymore. Any with talent can, and probably already have found jobs in technology. That leaves people with either no interest, no education, or no talent who choose to remain in mining.

          So Bloomberg was right. People suited for other fields probably already made that choice, and those with skills best used in mining have already chosen mining. Turning miners into coders is bound to be harder simply because they have already selected their career path according to their talents and wishes.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 1) by gishzida on Sunday April 13 2014, @03:36AM

        by gishzida (2870) on Sunday April 13 2014, @03:36AM (#30677) Journal

        > Let me then put the sarcasm hat on; in the land of the blind, one-eye is King.

        In that case I was the deaf, dumb, and fugly step child. There were people in those classes that were clearly smarter than me... and most of them certainly had more wallpaper [i.e. a college degree of some kind]... what seems to be lacking was a real desire to work in the field. In some cases work is all about your dedication and willingness to "show up" and "be present"

        Now 18 years later I can understand why... having been consistently beaten to improve my morale then tossed on the compost heap by an "evil clown" I find I don't want to go back to network administration... I don't mind the hardware and I can do well enough with the software and configuration and troubleshooting... but there is no solution to the problem of management ignorance and cruelty... but I just don't want to go back to deal with management that is interested in stuffing their own pockets while they screw everyone else. Yes-- I worked at some pretty piss-poor places.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:27PM (#30584)

      If you bury 9 bones and release 10 dogs, 1 of those dogs is not going to get a bone.
      It doesn't matter how much TRAINING you give that dog who failed, the next time you repeat the experiment, 1 dog will end up without a bone.
      The problem is NOT a lack of training.
      The problem is that there aren't enough bones. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [ufcw324.org]

      Additionally, when there is an actual shortage of something, the price of that something goes up.
      Supply and demand; this is Economics 101.
      If there was a shortage of coders, there would be a bidding war for coders.
      The fact is that there is already a surplus of coders.
      People training as coders are simply depressing the market farther by flooding it with supply when there isn't an increased demand.
      Again, Economics 101.

      The logical place to put the surplus labor of displaced coal miners would be in manufacturing and installing SUSTAINABLE ENERGY mechanisms.[1]
      The Green Party presidential last time around had such a plan. [google.com]
      (How do I know that none of you heard about that, as you were consuming lamestream media?)
      The longer the USA puts off a real push on sustainable energy, the more of that market (read: jobs and profits) slips away and develops elsewhere.

      [1] If the USA gov't is going to subsidize something, EFFICIENCY would be another excellent market in which to invest.
      Another way to say that in broad strokes is INSULATION.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by davester666 on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:04AM

    by davester666 (155) on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:04AM (#30480)

    ...as the American Dream.

    There isn't enough things to 'invent' or enough service jobs to get or businesses to start for everyone. Sure you can start a business, but there is nobody to hire you or buy what you are trying to sell.

    And the whole 'trickle down' economy pushed by the Republicans fails to accurately portray the "trickle" part of the equation while they pass tax cuts.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:30AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:30AM (#30487) Journal

      There isn't enough things to 'invent' or enough service jobs to get or businesses to start for everyone.

      Well, if you make it hard to invent things, you punish anyone who hires, and you throw hurdles in the way of starting businesses, then yes, it kind looks like there isn't enough to go around. Artificial scarcity looks a lot like natural scarcity. But in healthier economies and societies, they don't have this problem. China despite its problems doesn't have these problems. Each of these things you mention is not fixed in number and would grow readily enough, if we (being any developed world society, but particularly the US) let them.
       
       

      And the whole 'trickle down' economy pushed by the Republicans fails to accurately portray the "trickle" part of the equation while they pass tax cuts.

      The Republicans have been doing their share, but it's not "trickle down" that's screwing this aspect of the economy up.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bucc5062 on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:59AM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:59AM (#30507)

        " China despite its problems doesn't have these problems."

        No, but they are destroying their eco-system, polluting their air at a rate that makes 19th Century moguls blush in shame. Would you rather live in Seattle or Beijing, swim in the yellow river or most rivers in the US. No thank you, I don't like to shit in my own house for profit.

        "The Republicans have been doing their share, "

        Indeed they have, ramping up national debt, massive redistribution of wealth upwards, starting unwinable wars...well done republicans.

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:09AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:09AM (#30509) Journal

          No, but they are destroying their eco-system, polluting their air at a rate that makes 19th Century moguls blush in shame. Would you rather live in Seattle or Beijing, swim in the yellow river or most rivers in the US. No thank you, I don't like to shit in my own house for profit.

          Yes, they aren't perfect. But do you really think the only way to invent stuff, employ people, or start businesses is Beijing level pollution or their ridiculous, authoritarian government at the national level?

          • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:57PM

            by bucc5062 (699) on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:57PM (#30613)

            " But do you really think the only way to invent stuff, employ people, or start businesses is Beijing level pollution or their ridiculous, authoritarian government at the national level?"

            No. It is understandable that some regulations may effect business, but I'd rather err on the side of good for the environment and people then just for profit. Stuff will always get invented, but just would like it when we do so without raping most of the population along the way.

            --
            The more things change, the more they look the same
            • (Score: 2) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:04PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:04PM (#30624) Journal

              but I'd rather err on the side of good for the environment and people then just for profit. Stuff will always get invented, but just would like it when we do so without raping most of the population along the way.

              My view is that when you artificially restrict innovation, jobs, businesses, you aren't on the side of good. As to your glib "stuff will always get invented", I find it interesting how the people who don't have any faith that the private world will do the right thing somehow think it will continue doing these wonderful things for them, no matter how many obstacles they throw in the way.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:54PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:54PM (#30541) Journal

          "The Republicans have been doing their share, "

          Indeed they have, ramping up national debt, massive redistribution of wealth upwards, starting unwinable wars...well done republicans.

          I totally agree except for the implication that Democrats have not been doing the same. All these free trade agreements with third world economies that bear no resemblance to ours -- that got legs during the Clinton administration. We've offshored significant swaths of manufacturing. People tend to look askance at the blue collar worker and just say "be motivated, go to school, learn to be a coder/accountant/doctor even though it's been 30 years since you were in school." But knowledge work is susceptible too -- even doctors aren't immune because it is so much cheaper to have an MRI read in SE Asia that here.

          examples:
          http://www.brw.com.au/p/sections/professions/benef its_of_offshore_accountants_z8jyi8TwasPeviRKj7XVHM [brw.com.au]
          http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44949425/ns/health-cance r/t/doctor-reading-your-x-rays-maybe-not/#.U0lg-Si RvkE [nbcnews.com]

          Free trade agreements between equal economies are good things, but the same agreement with a third world economy is suicide. And it's the Democrats who really got that rolling. Not that Republicans aren't happy to help. In other words -- they both suck beyond the ability of science to measure.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:09PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:09PM (#30543)

        throw hurdles in the way of starting businesses

        What hurdles are we talking about here, assuming we're talking about the US?

        - Starting a sole proprietorship if you don't need to borrow startup capital is as easy as going into a bank and opening up a DBA account (you don't strictly even need to do this, but it makes the accounting easier). Boom, you have a business, congratulations.

        - If you want to form an LLC, it's relatively cheap and easy to do these days. In my home state, there's an online form and a $125 filing fee, as well as some other local regulations you have to follow depending on the kind of business you're going to be doing (e.g. liquor licenses). Partnerships are similar, with a $50 filing fee. The only expensive part would be getting a lawyer to put together agreements between partners or shareholders, but that's not actually required by the state.

        punish anyone who hires

        Since when was making sure that employees are properly compensated, taxed, and insured a "punishment"? If people are working for me full time, I have the responsibility of paying them fairly, ensuring that applicable taxes are paid, that they receive health insurance, and that I have worker's compensation insurance for them. I agree that involves some work, but millions of business owners navigate it easily enough.

        Also, treating my employees well isn't just good for them, it's also good for my business - well-treated employees are more likely to like their jobs, which means I'll get better job performance. And when I expand, I'll have an easier time attracting good employees, because word does get around about who's a good boss. It is wise to view employment as a 2-way street: their job is to do their work well, my job is to reward them for that and make it easier for them to succeed.

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
        • (Score: 0) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @05:08PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @05:08PM (#30555) Journal

          throw hurdles in the way of starting businesses

          What hurdles are we talking about here, assuming we're talking about the US?

          You mentioned some in your post. The "local regulations" often involve a number of shakedown fees and of course, property taxes. Tax preparation is overly complicated and you have to collect and keep a lot of information to justify yourself, should the IRS come auditing. Liability is a huge hurdle. One bad lawsuit can destroy a business. As are complying workplace and environmental regulation. These often require the hiring of people just to do the work of complying with the regulations.

          Now, I get from your questions above, that you're the kind of guy who just sees benefits and not costs, but the thing is all this activity is done by government with little attention paid to how much it costs the business to make it happen. My view is that even if you think every single regulation should be in place, all that can still can be implemented in a way that is not so costly for the business to operate.

          There's also some rather nasty people in government who take it upon themselves to punish people arbitrarily. For example, EPA has pulled some pretty notorious stuff in the last decade, such as fining people and then claiming in court that the victims didn't have standing to sue the EPA and resolve the complaint that the EPA leveled against their property until they paid the fines.

          punish anyone who hires

          Since when was making sure that employees are properly compensated, taxed, and insured a "punishment"?

          Since forever. Punishment means that one faces an inordinate penalty for an activity or behavior. As to your assertion of "properness", my view on this is that it's not the job of government to do that, at least in the US at the federal level. The Europeans can nanny all they want as well as the flakier of the US states.

          For example, Social Security drives up the cost of employing US workers by 15%. At a glance the difference in cost between US and Chinese workers is somewhere around a factor of six ($26k per year median wage in US versus a bit over $4k per year in China). A dozen more reductions like eliminating Social Security would put the US at parity dollarwise with China. So by putting in a retirement program that doesn't do much, the US increased the cost of all of its workers substantially.

          Similarly, minimum wage still puts a full time (40 hours per week) US worker at over triple the cost of a Chinese worker (and that ignores that they get more work out of the Chinese worker at that). The weakest workers in the US are simply priced out of the market except as support for more valuable workers. One would only need somewhere around seven more things with the same discount as Social Security to bring minimum wage workers to wage parity with Chinese workers. This crap has synergy.

          And we get to insurance. If you employ 50 or more people, "full time" (over 35 hours this time not 40) then you have to pay at least $30k plus $2k for every employee above 50 (that's the minimum from the employer mandate penalty). That's half the median wages of a Chinese worker per employee above 50 just in health care costs. Between Social Security, minimum wage, and the Obamacare employer mandate, we just raised the minimum tax cost of employing anyone full time in a business that employs more than 50 people to the median wage of a Chinese worker. That's $4175 per year on top of wages, minimum. It's over $6k per year, if the person is making median wage.

          And in general, there's a huge hit to a business's bottom line once they hire the first employee and once they hire the 50th employee. Lots of regulation and costs pile up once those thresholds are breached.

          Also, treating my employees well isn't just good for them, it's also good for my business - well-treated employees are more likely to like their jobs, which means I'll get better job performance.

          That's nice except you still have to turn a profit in order to have a business. At this point, a lot of people just say that "we shouldn't care about businesses that can't survive". They ignore that by doing so, they just destroyed a bunch of potential jobs, a bunch of potential businesses, and all the nice things that could have happened as a result of those jobs and businesses. That leaves us with whiners like davester666 who complain about the "American Dream" without understanding what happened to thwart it.

          It wasn't the evil 1% (or your bogeyman of choice), it was the nickel and diming of employers by society. The evil 1% didn't raise the median cost of employing people by far more than the median wage of a Chinese worker, the US public did. The evil 1% didn't throw a ton of regulations on US businesses, create perverse liability law, or a pile of little fees, politicians elected by the US public did. You can demand all these wonderful things, the cost is that you might not stay employed or have a government capable of providing those things.

          My view is that there are two stark choices: adapt or well, not die, but suffer through a period of decline for society anyway until it reaches a level below parity with the developing world where US labor is worth the bother of employing it. Developing countries like China show that there isn't some magical dearth of jobs, businesses, or invention out there. There is lots of opportunity still. And you don't need to become another China in order to get it.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by davester666 on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:42PM

            by davester666 (155) on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:42PM (#30587)

            "The evil 1% didn't throw a ton of regulations on US businesses, create perverse liability law, or a pile of little fees, politicians elected by the US public did."

            Actually, yes they did. They poisoned us, starved us, hired people to beat us up, had us thrown in jail, killed us and lots of other fun things to make MORE profit that they don't want to share.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tftp on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:40AM

      by tftp (806) on Saturday April 12 2014, @09:40AM (#30489) Homepage

      I'm not sure how true that is. I, for example, have many product ideas that I have no time to work on. A coder, a developer, an engineer have huge advantage over a ditch digger: they can invent once and then sell the invention forever. But a ditch digger has to dig a new ditch each time when he wants to sell it. I admit that my ideas are not on the scale of PS3 or iPhone; but they are very viable for a small company.

      The trouble, unfortunately, is in the fact that you have to have some reasonable education and experience before you can hang out your own shingle and start making products. It requires some business skills, some investment, some acceptance of risk, and - very important - readiness to go without a salary for a year or two, as you are only spending while making the product.

      The education idea is nice; but why do you think a truck driver works as a truck driver, and not as a CEO of Fortune 500? Is it because he just loves to be away from his family for weeks? Or is it because he prefers to risk his life every single day working long hours, controlling a multi-ton mechanism on a freeway? Maybe he is politically opposed to wealth? No, of course not. The higher you look, the fewer chairs are available, and the requirements get tougher, and competition becomes ruthless, and the deal becomes more and more rigged. Jobs at the lower levels of the pyramid may be not as exciting, but they are available (or used to be,) and they were steady, and they paid a good living, and you didn't have to borrow an astronomical sum of money to study for MBA, and you didn't even need to have ability to learn all that.

      Perhaps a 20 y/o man can equally easily pick the job of a driver and a job of a businessman. His mind is malleable, and he is able to learn new things. But ask the same question about a 40- or 50-y/o man, and the answer changes. It is harder to learn new stuff even if you knew how to do it. It's much harder to do if you never studied anything like that in your life. A truck driver can become a programmer, but his chances are best if he had affinity for programming from the day zero of his life. Similarly, I will not be able to drive NASCAR or Indy cars - I do not have the need for speed, and I dislike competition. I have no talent for any sport where someone wins and someone loses. If someone comes to me and says that I must retrain to compete in a bicycle race, I will advise that person to go bother someone else. I also cannot become a doctor, or a poet, or a ballet dancer... the list is very long. Why then should we expect that some other random person, who was previously employed in $x, is even physically and mentally capable of being employed in $y? And even if he is capable and completes the retraining, what are his chances in this job market, when the competition is young and fresh from school? Or when the competition is highly experienced after decades of work in the area? Would you, as a project manager, hire a 50 y/o programmer who admits that he never programmed anything more complex than "Hello, World" in Java? Would you put him to work on a 100K LOC project of medium complexity? If you do, what oversight will he need?

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:27AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:27AM (#30499)

        The whole "teaching coding as a cure for all economic and societal ills" schtick has been oversold.

        At some point, there's going to be a limit to the amount of value we can get from "software for software's sake" type of thinking. The fact that the biggest and most powerful tech company in the world (Google) makes its billions on what--advertising, marketing, and data-mining?

        Really? This is the coder's utopia we've all dreamed of?

        Very well, then. Teach everyone to code so we can write social media applications for each other. Let me know how it works out.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:50AM (#30504)

        I'm sure that there are many blue collar workers in the coal mining industry that are more capable in almost every respect than you or Bloomberg. They could code better, fuck your wife better, and beat you at chess.

      • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @01:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @01:16PM (#30520)

        > But a ditch digger has to dig a new ditch each time when he wants to sell it.

        Digger? Please!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:28AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:28AM (#30500) Journal

      Unfortunately, we are being sold a lottery...

      Unfortunately, it is worse than this: in a lottery, some (others than the organizers) would have chances to win something.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by blackest_k on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:57AM

    by blackest_k (2045) on Saturday April 12 2014, @10:57AM (#30506)

    In South Yorkshire many years back as coalmines were being closed left right and centre.
    I was on a course for CAD CAM basically programming milling machines and lathes, Autocad, and assembly. Most of the fellas on that course were redundant miners and a pretty smart bunch as i remember.

    One of the things that annoyed them was that anytime the tv camera's came near the collieries they always picked the biggest and thickest miner to interview.

    I particularly remember amongst the CMP JMP and other mnemonics was ATT. About That Time. invoked when it was time to take a break for a brew.

    They did a dirty dangerous hard job and deserve a lot more respect than they are generally given.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:02PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday April 12 2014, @03:02PM (#30533) Journal

      I guess the idea is that the set of skills you need to be a good coder is a completely different one than the set of skills you need to be a good miner. Which doesn't say that one of the sets is somehow better than the other (of course, on this site there are obviously more coders than miners, and thus on average the people here will value coding skills more than mining skills; but then, on a miner's forum it would probably be the complete reverse).

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:57PM (#30552)

      Not only is their job dirty and dangerous, it is harder than one might think.there are many jobs in a mine, but most people who work there are skillled tradesmen.the eqipment hasn't stood still either; mines have been mechanized for decades, and the control systems become more advanced as technology in general is computerized.

      And though Bloomberg's sympathy is welcome and needed,coal miners don't necessarily have to hang up their lamps; there's no reason other new mines can't be opened; there are lots of other minerals we need.

    • (Score: 1) by choose another one on Monday April 14 2014, @08:29AM

      by choose another one (515) on Monday April 14 2014, @08:29AM (#31207)

      I have worked with a coder who came from those very same mine closures - perfectly good at his coding and technical consulting job.

      Of course we are talking US rather than UK, maybe their coalminers are all big and thick. Or maybe their mayors are - remind me how many qualifications are needed to be mayor...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:40AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:40AM (#30513) Journal

    I'm bugged by Bloomberg's straw man here. Zuckerberg hasn't actually claimed that we can convert coal miners to code monkeys. Zuckerberg's spiel was directed at students in K-12 schools who generally don't have any sort of job much less being a coal miner. It's still broken, but not as badly as Bloomberg implies.

    The peculiar linking of coal mining to Zuckerberg strikes me as some sort of political flavored, early maneuvering at the national level - maybe an attempt to placate three significant national-level Democrat constituencies at once (labor unions, environmentalists, and IT industry). Maybe that means Bloomberg will give it a go in the 2016 US presidential elections or a US senate seat (the New York one currently occupied by Charles Schumer).

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday April 12 2014, @06:37PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @06:37PM (#30573) Journal

      Except that Bloomberg didn't choose the straw man, and Zuckerberg did.

      Zuckerberg's spiel [washingtonpost.com] was actually aimed toward increasing H1B visas so he could hire more foreign workers rather than paying the going scale. It was about allowing additional paths for illegal aliens, while draping himself in the immigrant flag simply because his parents were (legal) immigrants.

      True Zuck never mentioned retraining coal miners for coder jobs. He never suggested retraining anyone! His whole motive is ignoring local talent and recruiting overseas and from immigrant populations, (with an emphasis on undocumented immigrants.

      Bloomberg was at least trying to explore retraining opportunities for coal miners who he is hell bent on putting out of work.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by khallow on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:09PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 12 2014, @11:09PM (#30625) Journal

        Except that Bloomberg didn't choose the straw man, and Zuckerberg did.

        No, it's pretty clear that Zuckerberg didn't say a thing about coal miners. Nor for that matter does Bloomberg actually express disapproval of the H1-B game.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12 2014, @04:34PM (#30548)

    I think the bigger problem is the wave of professional jobs moving off shore. My company opened an office in India 18 months ago, and now has 100 employees there, mostly programmers and QA. My team now consists of three employees in the US and six employees in India. And they keep hiring more employees in India while in the US the company only hires a new employee to replace someone who quits. Everything from medical billing, back office accounting, technical support, software development, etc, if a company can move to a lower cost country, it will do it. It's a race to the bottom and the middle class is going to be wiped out. For all the talk about the "job creators", I see a lot more jobs moving overseas than not.

    The good thing about coal mining is that you can't move the company. The work is tied to where the coal is located. We should ship the coal to China and charge them a large tariff for their trouble.

    For the comment about "Would you like fries with that," the service industry is one of the few places where non-professionals can get jobs. Unfortunately, the jobs are low-pay and there is little advancement opportunities. And the service industry does everything in its power to keep the wages low, from union busting to lobbying to keep the minimum wage down. In the long run this is going to cause problems because the

    If Bloomberg wants to do something about the situation, he should move Bloomberg Inc from NYC to West Virginia. Having a large company as an anchor for inject money into the local service industry and help soften the blow when closing the coal plant.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:01PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:01PM (#30578) Journal

      I think the bigger problem is the wave of professional jobs moving off shore.

      Yeah, programming on the open sea is a bitch. All the time hitting the wrong keys because the waves shake the ship. ;-)

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Reziac on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:50PM

    by Reziac (2489) on Saturday April 12 2014, @07:50PM (#30588) Homepage

    How about NYC cease accepting electricity generated by 'non-green' sources, and see how long he stays in office.