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Comment: The average person should be able to quickly... (Score 2) 183

by AtlanticCarbon (#49101521) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

...find out what the law is on a given subject. The current case-law system worked for a limited network of courts and practitioners (in England) who could refer to older cases for jurisprudence. Now, you have to pay thousands of dollars to have access to digital/searchable caselaw in a sprawling network of courts across a continent. In a democracy people should know what the law says.

Comment: Re:More useful than my high school options (Score 2, Interesting) 259

by AtlanticCarbon (#48990441) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission

Interesting point, but most German engineers are going to speak English better than you can speak German. I imagine the same is true for Japan. The advantage of Spanish (or what people realize less often, French) is that you have large poorer territories in South America and especially Africa where perhaps there'd be more difficulty getting someone with US tech experience to head up an office.

This is primarily a question of how much we value general education though. People forget the main reason to learn a second language is just an exercise in learning and seeing how another language works. Most people are never going to speak a second language well enough to use it professionally. People who want a university education should still have to have a well-rounded education even if they're majoring in CS. That means learning some history and foreign language.

Comment: The Possibility that People Are Not Working at Wrk (Score 2) 529

by AtlanticCarbon (#43105261) Attached to: The Data That Drove Yahoo's Telecommuting Ban

This seems to ignore the possibility that people aren't always working while at their employer's premises. I've seen that happen as I think most people have. Just because someone is in their office doesn't mean that they're not playing solitaire. It always comes down to getting your work done or not. If people can get the same work done but have more relaxation time, what's the problem? If you force them to sit at their desk, they'll surf the internet. If you're really aggressive they'll just start making up plausible-deniability busy work.

Comment: Re:Simpler explanation (Score 2) 91

by AtlanticCarbon (#41052049) Attached to: Science and Math Enrollments Reach New High In UK

Yes, this is likely related to the economy and changing attitudes about education.

Some of these attitudes are becoming a bit extreme though. I've noticed snobbery and contempt for people who don't specialize in math or science. It may ultimately lead to a sense of entitlement for these science and math majors that goes unsatisfied. Already in the post-doc world and in academia we see signs of saturation. And the salaries in these fields aren't high enough to indicate dramatic unmet demand.

More and more I think the educational arms race is a bad thing. Most of these people will not end up doing rocket science at a desk somewhere. Perhaps the education will benefit society more indirectly but I think in many cases it may be a waste of time and money in the long run.

Comment: There's nowhere left to hide... (Score 3, Insightful) 999

by AtlanticCarbon (#40987673) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?

I think I've read stories about people from just about anywhere feeling the need to move in order to escape bad economic conditions. You hear a lot about people bringing up Australia or Germany. I don't see any long-term scenario in which other countries of the world are flailing but Germany and Australia are thriving. Economies are too interdependent these days.

One should choose a city where they have the strongest base of support from family and friends. If thinks get worse, you will need to rely on those people.

Comment: How many dollars are you looking for? (Score 2) 559

by AtlanticCarbon (#40280533) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ambitious Yet Ethical Software Jobs?

You say academia pays in degrees, not dollars. Obviously, academics get paid by universities. Why not look into areas of pure science where computing could be helpful?

If you're looking for butt-loads of money then it's probably time to get off your ethical high-horse anyway.

Comment: It's not just starving artists /welfare recipients (Score 5, Interesting) 373

by AtlanticCarbon (#40222411) Attached to: Finding the Downside In San Francisco's Tech Boom

Reading some of the early comments, it seems like people are acting like this just affects artists or poor black people or that this is somehow a reversal of white flight (largely a middle-class phenomenon).

I grew up in San Francisco and still live in the Bay Area. Middle-class and even many (by national standards) upper-middle class people have been and continue to be pushed out of the city. It's not really about racial diversity either. It's a socio-economic and cultural thing. It's also an age thing. To me the quintessential San Francisco resident is a yuppy transplant female in her late 20s or early 30s . She works in tech marketing. She's a foodie and loves visiting all the trendy new brunch places and maybe hitting up a street fair afterwards. She could be white, Asian, hispanic or something else. That doesn't mean it's not monotonous and homogenous. It is homogenous and that's what people are complaining about. And if you want to have a family in San Francisco, you need to be downright wealthy. So there's nothing wrong with being a young professional in itself, but when that's all a city has it's lost a lot of its character.

Anyway, such is life in a market economy. I don't know if there's a right or wrong here and a city like San Francisco has seen waves of demographic changes. But don't think this is like people complaining if white people were to return to inner-city Detroit. This is nothing like that. This is really an entire city becoming like the wealthier parts of Manhattan. I don't expect people from other cities to care, but as a San Francisco native I wish Silicon Valley had been a place in Washington state.

Comment: Re:Questions (Score 1) 1046

by AtlanticCarbon (#39542571) Attached to: Forensic Experts Say Screams Were Not Zimmerman's

I can recognize people's voices when they are relatively calm. I don't have a lot of experience recognizing people's screams at a distance over a telephone, but it seems like even when people call me at a distance to get my attention that I can't identify them until I see them.

Also, you say the vocal cords don't change but clearly the human body (including in the throat and not just the mouth) is capable of deforming to create a variety of sounds, no?

Comment: Questions (Score 1) 1046

by AtlanticCarbon (#39542297) Attached to: Forensic Experts Say Screams Were Not Zimmerman's

Isn't it fair to assume the expert is using the publicly available samples? IIRC one of the experts in the Sentinel article suggested that the difference between the two samples (sound and screaming vs. being relatively calm) doesn't matter. Can someone explain more technically why it wouldn't matter? At the very least, doesn't interference and other factors come into play with the recording taken at a distance, i.e., the one where is screaming.

Comment: Grass is Always Greener (Score 2) 694

by AtlanticCarbon (#35932230) Attached to: Why Science Is a Lousy Career Choice

I'm always amazed how every profession thinks they have it the worst. The grass is always greener on the other side. If you look at Department of Labor statistics, science and engineering is a _comparatively_ good place to be. The problem is people want the economy to reward their intelligence and overall contributions to society. That's not how it works. It works on supply and demand. There's always going to be a huge demand for people that can sell things. Does that mean you should be in sales? If you do you're not really that into science to begin with.

Most "meaningful" jobs won't pay you tons and tons of money. Maybe that's because you're getting satisfaction out of your job unlike a corporate lawyer who looks over SEC reports for 12 hours a day. I imagine this is built into the wages. As others have said, do what you enjoy.

Comment: You'll never know what you'll need your records... (Score 1) 366

by AtlanticCarbon (#34007918) Attached to: How Do You Manage the Information In Your Life?

I'm not sure why everybody "don't worry about it." If you have things archived digitally it doesn't interfere with your life. And frequently proper documentation can be the difference between success and failure in a dispute with a company or organization or even a lawsuit. It's also often interesting to see how you were thinking or what you were doing in the past.

Personally, I store as much as my information in PDFs, JPGs, and select documents that I change often in MS Office formats (worse case scenario if MS goes out of business I can print them as PDFs too). The frequently-changed documents are the ones with the notes about miscellaneous projects I have. Most projects have their own documents. I organize these in a simple directory structure with folders such as Finances and Photos. I make sure to separate things I rarely or never access with subdirectories so they don't clutter things up. It's not as fancy as having everything on Evernote or the cloud but it works and is in your control.

Comment: Torn About Calculators (Score 1) 870

by AtlanticCarbon (#33569898) Attached to: Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?
If I were a professor I would not allow graphing calculators for simplicity's sake. No worrying about functionality or wireless issues. Maybe even mandate a certain model of cheap calculator. They are like $18 dollars these days, nothing compared to the price of a book. No phones. Also for simplicity's sake, I would just include a reference page for formulas that are needed for the exam. No worrying about people making their own cheat sheets and the like. But part of me likes calculators. You'd be surprised at how many students aren't even able to use the advanced TI-89 calculator functions when they have them. It rewards nerdy behavior to let people use calculators, especially when they have to show their work anyway. As others have mentioned, when in the real world aren't you able to use access reference material?

Comment: The Problem with Most Distance Learning Right Now (Score 1) 393

Usually, you get no credit. And even if you get credit, it's not credit other institutions would accept. With that said we should be pushing distance learning. Modern universities are like country clubs and they unnecessarily raise the cost of education. The solution is to test people rigorously and in person so that other institutions and employers will take the experience seriously. Community colleges are in the best position to offer online courses for the basics.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil