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Comment: Re:Hmmmmm. Interesting decision history... (Score 4, Insightful) 259

by AuMatar (#48613253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

True, a degree doesn't mean they have those traits. But this is where conditional probability comes into play. More people with the degree will fall into this category than those without, because the degree gives them the knowledge to wield those traits effectively. That means that when looking at a resume, you're more likely to get a good hire from one with a degree than without. And several of those traits are positively associated with a degree. Additionally, the floor is higher- while even those with a degree can be a bad hire, a mistake is more likely to be a mediocre worker than a bad one. So you minimize your risks and maximize your potential gains by just dropping the other pile, looking for diamonds in the rough isn't worth the time and money. Especially since the type of person you're discussing won't be easily discernible from a resume, you're looking at phone or in person interviews at much higher cost/effort to have a chance.

One exception I would make is with a personal testimonial of the non-degreed dev's skill by a developer I trust. But you're looking at corner cases there.

Comment: Re:Hmmmmm. Interesting decision history... (Score 4, Insightful) 259

by AuMatar (#48612989) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

No, it absolutely won't. First off- drop the idiotic lingo. All it does is make you look like a tool. Secondly- the "rockstar" tends to have a degree. That's part of why he's so good, he's studied the foundation of his craft and understand the costs and benefits of different approaches. Once again, someone with a degree is far more likely to be able to do that then one without.

Secondly, when looking for high impact workers- the things you want don't correlate to no degree. What you want is hard working, creative, a willingness to step up and take ownership, and high intelligence. Lacking a degree means he's not likely to be hard working, he wasn't willing to put in the work to go to college. It means he wasn't willing to take ownership of his own career path. And it means he was either too stupid to get into college, or too stupid to see the benefits of it. The only one you might get is creative because he "went a different way"- but he did so without thought or a good reason for doing so, which again isn't what you want.

So yeah, the non-degree holder loses again. THere's a few exceptions (although only 1 I've ever met and he had 3 years of college before quitting for health reasons and needing cash too much to return), but I'm happy to miss out on them- a given engineer is more likely to be high impact with a degree than without, so again I'm using it as a good first screen to weed out the 90%+ who are useless in that category.

Now I have found some good engineers with alternative STEM degrees and a passion for coding- physics, EE, comp eng, mech end, etc. But you have to carefully screen to see if they actually know what they should, I would expect their math to be on par (or better), but not necessarily their knowledge of CS concepts.

Comment: Re:Hmmmmm. Interesting decision history... (Score 4, Insightful) 259

by AuMatar (#48612501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

Because you have to prove merit. A degree proves that you've studied the field for 4 years. A lack of degree show absolutely nothing. Thus to have equivalent background you have to show much more.

Now we have a pile of resumes. 50% of them have a college degree, thus 4 years studying the field. 50% do not (and don't have at least 4 years in the field professionally). I'm throwing out the 50% without a degree because the signal to noise ratio is too low. Will I throw out a few good hires? Maybe. But I'll throw out a lot of bad ones, and that's more important.

THat doesn't even get into the fact that school teaches different things. School teaches theory. The vast majority of self-taught programmers without a degree that I've seen are very weak on theory. They can maybe throw some libraries together, but they don't understand how to actually solve hard CS problems and couldn't explain basic concepts, causing their designs to have massive flaws. Many of them even take pride in this, their entire attitude being that they didn't need that "academic BS". These kinds of programmers tend to cost time and effort in the long run. So yeah, I'd rather have the degree and someone taught the theories behind everything than someone who thinks reading documentation on weekends will make him a good programmer. SO yeah, no degree means you better have a LOT of experience to even things out. I'm not going to hire you as anything but a web monkey if you have less than a decade.

Comment: Re:Please don't (Score 1) 259

by AuMatar (#48612423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

You should check out the unemployment and college debt numbers for law school grads. Unless you're going to a top of the line law school and are an extremely competitive person, odds are very good you'll never recoup that investment. Many law school grads never find a job practicing law.

Comment: Re:Different name same shit (Score 2) 158

by AuMatar (#48601969) Attached to: 9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

That's all relatively recent developments. Until the 1800s, you were whatever religion the lord of your land was, down to the sect of Christianity. If you didn't like it, too bad- shut up or be jailed or killed.

You were a jew? You can't own land, must live in a ghetto, must be locked in at night, must be one of about half a dozen professions, and would regularly be killed in mob attacks by christians. It was literally better for them in Islamic territory where they only had to pay an extra tax.

You want wars? Well, there were the crusades. And a whole fleet of wars across Europe, especially in Germany, over which particular sect of Christians everyone needed to be.

Even one of the more enlightened countries, England, basically kicked out anyone who wasn't mainstream enough to the colonies. Where they still didn't have religious freedom, you just had areas ruled by smaller sects.

And even today in America, a very tolerant society, you have 1 political party that kisses the nutjobs asses and is moving to make abortion and birth control illegal.

Yeah, I don't see a whole lot of difference between the two.

Comment: Re:Is SONY breaking the law with this "defense"? (Score 5, Insightful) 185

by Artifakt (#48578701) Attached to: Sony Reportedly Is Using Cyber-Attacks To Keep Leaked Files From Spreading

If there are any legitmate files hosted on those servers Sony's hired guns are DOSing, a "second amendment analogy" means Sony just fired back at both their opponents and some innocent bystanders. How about that, posters defending Sony's right to use such tactics - does that right include unlimited collateral damage to random bystanders? If sony isn't breaking the law, then does that make the law right even if innocents get caught in the 'crossfire'?

Comment: Re:Please (Score 2) 416

by Artifakt (#48575037) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

I'm far from sure this is just about protecting the public image of MIT or saving face. It's hardly outside the realm of possibility that MIT gets some economic benefits from having those videos on Youtube and has a contract with the professor that passes some of them on to him. For example, the videos are probably calculated in MITs taxes each year as an IP asset, and that makes some of the costs of producing them part of research credits and such that affect MITs filings for years after they are made.Actions such as giving things to the community create real good will, and something called goodwill for taxes, and while both will be reduced if some people find the misbehavior disturbing enough to offset the normal good feelings towards MIT this produces, the impact on the tax version is a real economic consequence.
      I think we are looking at a borderline case, particularly if this is just a single incident of online harrassment. Like where two 16 year olds send naughty photos of themsleves to each other and then a prosecutor says it's technically distribution of pedophilic images and we should immediately try both participants as adults. This situation at least technically counts as triggering a lot of consequences, now should it trigger all of them without any descression.as to whether it's really serious enough for that whole automatic process to be just? Or is that what we mean by zero tolerance - borderline cases all trigger maximum consequences.

Comment: Re:Watson is a scientist (Score 1) 234

by Artifakt (#48567251) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Actually, I think there are some good, sound, scientific reasons that intelligence differences along racial lines are not genetic (at least in major part). Simplest among these is that there is as much evolutionary pressure from problems such as tropical diseases as there is from survival during an ice age, or similar factors that are invoked to "scientifially "explain these differences.
          In general, Science frequently uses Occam's Razor in one of its classic forms "It is vain to explain with more what can be explained with fewer". Explanations that somehow give special weight to the selection pressures that supposedly improved European or Asian migrants and treat the human evolutionary period like Africa was some sort of peaceful paradise where people had no reason not to stay jolly, dumb and lazy, are perfect examples of needless and counter-scientific complexity.
        These are usually offered with pseudo-scientific claims that somehow attacks by diseases or parasites or large predators on the African proto-human population, are not sustained at the right frequency, or in some exact way that was needed, and only survival against one particular stressor caused evolutionary pressure. Sometimes these get very elaborate, with claims that only one thing, such as glaciers, produced the precise combination of stressors needed to trigger evolution - wars, for example, didn't count as an evolutionary driver, unless they were wars against a distinct species offshoot such as the Neandertals, or diseases didn't count because they didn't happen on a yearly cycle like glacial advances, etc. That's special pleading, not science.

With that said Watson did something very good for many people. I'll respect that even where I think he's wrong about something, and even where I might dismiss all somebody's other opinions otherwise.

Comment: Re:Of course and duuuuuhhh. . . (Score 1) 414

by Artifakt (#48566347) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

That's one of Iain M. Banks' "The Culture" novels. Understandable though, it's very easy to get Iain M. Banks and Iain Banks confused, since they even lived in the same city at the time of their unfortunate deaths from similar diseases.

Still, how can The Player of Games be the greatest when one of its sequels is The Hydrogen Sonata?

Comment: Re:programming (Score 1) 414

by Artifakt (#48566057) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

People are probably going to claim that the AI can be programmed to avoid jeopardizing the economic interests of its owner to take care of such things. The problem with that is, such AI puts humans at risk, not because the AI itself will act against them, but the persons owning the AI will become more inclined to harm their fellow humans if those humans don't come with the useful feature of putting their owner's interests above self preservation. Having smart slaves with no sense of self may be possible some day, and even desirable for some applications, but what will it enable sociopaths to do?
          In some ways, AI without self identity is like a gun that automatically sends out press releases saying the target had a history of thuggish behavior and was charging at the gun owner. The things that could replace self identity are often things society has other problems with, such as fanatical devotion to a cause.

Comment: Re:How about a straight answer? (Score 0) 329

by Artifakt (#48562263) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

Maybe, but there are reasons not to just go by the first thing you find on Wikipedia, and you've found a great example.

First, what's pretty definite about the Permian Extinction is that a really big meteor hit near Chicxulub, in the gullf of Mexico, at the right time to contribute to it. What's called the K-Pg boundry Iridium layer supports this.
Second, there's real doubt the big rock from space was enough to cause the known extinctions all by itself, so something else, such as Methane Clathrate release happening about the same time might be needed to explain some of it. That's two mights - we might need to consider more factors, and methane might be one. You're adding a third might, that the Methane might be a key factor, which I take to mean you think it's bigger than most, but not necessarily all of the suggested other factors.. There's lots of other possible factors, such as which continents were recently reconnected by land bridges after aeons of isolation at the time, or what did the evolution of flowering plants contribute, if anything. If you're right, Methane release is more significant than most such possibilities, but that's a long chain of mights, only as strong as its weakest might. .

I'll give you a countervailing wiki entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
The part about the Deccan Traps gives an alternative source for tremendous amounts of Carbon with a source which could change isotope ratios. Also, while I don't think the meteor itself could have had enough Carbon in its composition to make much difference, it is a known fact that stuff from elsewhere in the solar system can have different isotopic ratios. In fact that's one of the things the recent cometary probe lander was supposed to measure, so I supposes somebody ought to do a few back of the envelope calculations to really rule that possibility out.
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