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Comment: Re:As an engineer let me say... (Score 1) 736

by Cerebus (#30593592) Attached to: Why Do So Many Terrorists Have Engineering Degrees

What he said. :)

Most engineers are too narrowly educated. As a result, they're ill-equipped to construct counter-arguments when they encounter a line of non-engineering bullshit.

I recall a conversation I had with my department chair as an undergrad (I ran into him on the T). He was considering altering the curriculum and adding a slate of new technical requirements, but it would have to be at the expense of humanities requirements. I advocated instead expanding the program to a five-year degree instead, because I felt (and feel) that an education in humanities is vital for all science and engineering students--if only because they teach students how to *explain things to others*, something that's so incredibly important once you're out in the real world working as a science or engineering professional.

Comment: Do you really mean for the science? (Score 2, Insightful) 537

by Cerebus (#28670855) Attached to: Which Language Approach For a Computer Science Degree?

Or do you mean for a job?

The two are not necessarily the same.

I found languages like Lisp, Prolog, and Smalltalk to be of the most use for learning the science. These are not your sweatshop languages, though.

On the plus side, if you learn the science, learning a new language isn't tough.

Comment: Re:Ethanol is just stupid (Score 1) 894

by Cerebus (#28097421) Attached to: The Great Ethanol Scam

Failure of a current government to perform is not the same thing as government *as an institution* being incapable of performing.

Feel free to propose an alternative to a government that accomplishes this task and doesn't rely on proven-ineffective industry self-policing and yet *isn't* just government by another name.

I hope you won't mind if I don't wait around.

Comment: Re:Ethanol is just stupid (Score 2, Informative) 894

by Cerebus (#28093053) Attached to: The Great Ethanol Scam

You're right, they aren't. But under a truly 'free' market as defined by our libertarian friends, you have no recourse if any of them happen.

The issue isn't free markets it's, *fair* markets. Only the gov't keeps markets fair. Free markets are like anarchies; they immediately devolve into strong-man rule--in market terms, that's cartels and monopolies. The history of abuse by business in the absence of gov't enforced rules is long, and at this point should be obvious to anyone.

Comment: A Microsoft PM once told me Clippy saved money (Score 5, Funny) 263

by Cerebus (#26299717) Attached to: The Secret Origins of Microsoft Office's Clippy

Allegedly, Clippy annoyed people into looking in the help files to figure out how to turn him off. That led them to discover that the help file actually was helpful. This reduced the give-away service calls by some measured percent.

Probably not Clippy's intended purpose, but there you go. :)

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.