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Comment Applies to most fields, actually. (Score 1) 236

I have a Ph.D. in New Testament studies, and from time to time I teach basic Biblical Greek to seminary students. Every time, I rattle off the following spiel:

"Why study Biblical Greek? It's a lot of work, and if you spend your entire life studying you might, just maybe be as proficient as a dock-side worker in Athens around 100AD. Some of you may think "it's a requirement", but that just leaves us wondering why it's required. Some of you are enthusiasts, and have heard pastors say "but the Greek really says" too many times. You probably think that learning Greek will solve all your exegetical and theological problems. But ... well, I hate to break it to you, but it won't.

The best reason to study Biblical Greek is very different. The best reason is that it teaches you to open your Bible with fear and trembling. This is precisely because, much of the time, the Greek doesn't really say. Greek, like English, is sometimes vague and often contradictory. Sometimes, we know exactly what is meant by a word or phrase or sentence or passage. More often, there are still significant questions.

Take "faith in Jesus." Many of you regard that as the center of our faith. But even that might be questioned to someone who really knows Biblical Greek. Does "pistevou tou Christou" mean "faith in Christ" or the "faithfulness of Christ"? The reality is that we don't really know, and it might even mean BOTH.

So, why study Biblical Greek? To learn that you are ignorant on a great many things, and will remain so. It is, as Paul often says, a mystery."

(From memory and past my bedtime, so pardon that I didn't dig up my notes.) We then fall into class discussion. I usually lose about 1/4th of the class the first day.

Comment There's not one answer (Score 1) 496

My dentist once told me that I obviously have viking blood. (He was right; I'm essentially half Scot and half Russian.) I am also a diabetic. I'm not alone. Roughly a third of Americans at this point are either diabetic or on the road to diabetes. If I ate the kind of carbs this guy eats, I'd have to load up on hundreds of units of insulin, and I'd never lose a pound. That's not speculation, I've tried that sort of diet. (Was a vegetarian for years, and couldn't lose weight on a 1200 Calorie vegetarian diet. And I was ravenously hungry and depressed all the time.)

Instead, the diet that has worked for me (very successfully) has been cutting the carbs. Most of my calories come from meat. I eat 4 or more eggs and bacon for breakfast. I quickly learned, by following my blood sugar meter, that I simply could not tolerate the 200+ grams of carbs that the government recommends. Since making the decision to follow my blood sugar 100% and ignore studies that, at best, present an average of what worked for someone else, I've lost well over 100 lbs. while increasing my lean body mass. My trigclycerides, once over 1000, have plunged. My HDL is high, my LDL is low, and most importantly my last A1c (a measure of blood sugar over time) was normal for a non-diabetic at 4.9%.

I'm glad his diet worked for him. It wouldn't work for me. No doubt, my diet wouldn't work for him. And that's ok. The notion that there's one perfect diet for everyone is virtually idiotic. And, most importantly, it doesn't work. That's not to say that there aren't some useful general principles, some patterns that are more likely to work for you. But at the end of the day it's your health; take the time to figure out what will work for you.

Comment In my experience, no ... (Score 3, Insightful) 289

I have twins with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (it's hard to narrow it down because it doesn't really fit any of the DSM4 categories.) I've not found that /formal/ social skills work is very helpful. What seems to work better is finding situations where they can have positive social engagement with people who "get it". As you observed, I've found that the particular training is much less relevant than whether the person "gets" people on the spectrum. A lot of people just don't understand how kids on the spectrum think, and they never will.

For us, our church was a great resource for an understanding, friendly group of people who knew us well enough to know that the twins needed special gentleness in social situations. But I don't think that would be true of every church.

Comment Re:It's paid for. (Score 1) 189

Nope, that's not what killed it. Ethernet was just as bad before hubs and then switching came along -- even with hubs, one bad ethernet card could take down the whole broadcast domain, and did with some frequency. And with thinnet wiring (coax to the younglings) all it took was one marginal connector, anywhere in the loop, to kill the whole network. Don't even get me started on thicknet.

What killed it was money. Ethernet became very cheap to implement. Once everything moved to a star topology (hubs, then switches) the advantages of Token Ring were not worth the additional cost. Ethernet benefitted from being able to advertise higher bandwidths (10mbps, then 100mbps, vs. TR's 4/16 then, too late, 100) -- the perception was, "why would I want 16mbps token ring when I could have 100Mbps ethernet for less money?" Ethernet wasn't really any faster, and was often slower due to collisions, but everybody just looked at the total bandwidth. Once switch ports got cheap, collisions were no longer an issue and Token Rings fate was sealed.

Of course, Arcnet had a star topology long before Ethernet or Token Ring. But it too suffered from low nominal bandwidth.

Comment Re:It's paid for. (Score 2) 189

Listen up, Junior ...

In some ways, Token Ring was very much superior to Ethernet. A hospital I worked for in the late 90's had a huge (1000 nodes) 4Mbps TR, all as one big subnet, built long before switches came along. If you tried to do that with Ethernet, it would have crashed and burned in a week. This was, on the whole, pretty reliable (if slow). The downside was that if one card in the ring failed, the whole thing would generally die. So it was great until the 10 year old TR cards started failing regularly due to capacitors failing. We ended up replacing the whole thing with 100Mbps switched ethernet, which wasn't really noticeably faster despite a 25-fold increase in nominal bandwidth, and failed more often. :)

Comment 42 years old here.. (Score 4, Interesting) 376

And still technical. 100% technical. There have been a few cases where I felt like I was denied a job because I was too old ... "not a good fit with company culture" and that sort of thing... but as others have said, those companies just disqualified themselves.

The reality is that I'm a better programmer now than when I was 25. I havre a much better understanding of "craftsmanship" -- things like testing, documentation, making sure my code is not "brittle" -- even though my ability to devour new technologies has slacked a bit.

Comment Philosophy Major here (Score 1) 392

I was a philosophy major as an undergrad, have a Masters in Theological Studies, and a PhD in New Testament, and pastored a couple of churches along the way (part time.)

I've been working in IT continuously since the mid 90's (part-time when I was working on the PhD), and am presently employed by a Major Telecommunications Company as a senior architect. I make very good money, and when I left another Major Telecom Company in March, after 15 years, I had 15 inquiries just by posting to Facebook. The other day, I had a recruiter from Amazon practically beg me to come interview (they lost out in March due to being too slow to arrange an on-site interview.)

The degree doesn't matter. The skills matter. If anything, my broad background sets me apart from the pack. But only because I've got the skills.

Comment Whatever (Score 2) 359

I was an Emacs dude for a long time and still use it. Then I tried RubyMine, and eventually upgraded to IDEA. The IDE features are sometimes handy. I also use vi very regularly for quick edits of small scripts.

I would no more stick to one editor than I would stick to one programming language. Right tool for the job is the key.

Real Users hate Real Programmers.

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