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Comment Re: Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 174

And many of those who successfully predicted it, made faulty investment choices in response to it! Just seeing it coming was no predictor of being able to profit from it--mainly because the whole system is just too complicated! Economists are getting deep into models based on a few questionably measured variables, hoping to predict the behavior of a system with what, quadrillions of variables that we don't even understand yet?

At this point, I've come to the conclusion that all government is illegitimate unless a working predictive model of human society is forthcoming. Since the psychology and social sciences can't even agree on the significance of a one or two basic variables in predicting the outcome of a single human development from childhood to adulthood, I don't think that predictive model is going to arrive any time soon.

THIS is the problem with global warming--the science may very well be right. But those arrogant scientists and those who think they are so intelligent therefore they must know how to run the world suddenly slip into cognitive dissonance when they advocate that government should "do something" about it, since, neither government, or anyone, has any working model of society. So how can we predict the probability of the success of any solutions? We can't, and in fact, the likelihood of precipitating even worse disaster may be just as high as solving the problem.

Comment Re: FUCK OFF DICE (Score 1) 659

Even the simplest program flow control with nothing but a few if then else statements is logic, yes indeed.

Here we go with the "anybody can code" theory again. I will only say this--I think it's bullshit because there is much more to it than just being able to spell things out step by step. I will simply give an anecdote. If you think it's meaningless, fine. Hopefully some will "see" the meaning here:

I once hired an intern to help me with electronics design work. Part of his job would be to learn to use the scripting facilities of a PCB CAD program, then write a program to take human data entry input descriptions of high pin count devices and automatically turn them into the functional and mechanical models needed within the program, a process which, to do by hand, is extremely tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming.

Well this kid absolutely kicked ass on this problem, and wrote a piece of software that is now an important asset to my operation, in just about 2 months.

He also tried to make a few actual PCBs. Here he didn't fare so well. The first run had a serious oversight--forgot to see if the mechanical orientation of a connector mated correctly with another--that sort of thing. So he revised it and we did a 2nd run. Uh-oh, another few small mistakes that made it not quite useful. I think the 3rd rev. turned out Ok.

Now this sort of success rate is not quite good enough in the hardware design world, because, re-spins of boards are $$$. What's even worse is when lack of attention to detail results in faults you don't discover until some time down the road, when suddenly 1000s of products come back on warranty because someone didn't take the time to read every single fucking word of fine print in a datasheet, and investigate the potential significance of every single ambiguity!

Can anyone do this? No fucking way!

I am not trying to say that my intern could not have developed more attention to detail with experience, or that all people who aren't inherently this perfectionist can never develop satisfactory attention to detail. It is highly possible and probable that some might. But I am absolutely certain that there are also some people who can never, ever, develop the sort of attention to detail needed to do engineering with a success rate high enough (in the >=95%, preferably 99% range, or even much higher, depending on the sub-field) to be successful, regardless of their overall intelligence.

Now what has this got to do with whether anyone can code or not, since clearly they are different, or else why did my intern do so well at the programming problem and not so well at the hardware design?

For starters, programming has a much shorter feedback period. You blow two board designs, and by the time the 3rd is working, your competitor has had a several month lead in the marketplace. But if you are playing footloose with code, you notice the big errors, and are able to correct them, in minutes or seconds.

However, what separates programming from recipe writing is that you are dealing with a machine that has absolutely no idea what you really mean, and so ultimately, the level of attention to detail required to get programs to work right is actually very high. High enough in fact, that when combined with the fact that one must learn a programming language, which involves some unavoidable level of abstractions as well as all sorts of weird arbitrary rules, the result is that there will be a proportion of people, again regardless of intelligence, who will simply be unable to deal with it and will give up due to frustration.

The programmers who persist and get past the frustration do so because there is something that makes them inherently like programming, and this, by definition, cannot be learned or taught.

Finally, there will be some who will struggle to grasp even basic abstractions, and even more who will forever be baffled by higher abstractions. Now many might be able to accomplish useful goals through programming without having to understand or employ higher abstractions. Every one of us has a limit to our aptitude, and we learn to work within our means, so to speak.

So those who are not bright enough to grasp higher abstractions are simply precluded from becoming professional programmers. If you argue against this, then that is just plain silly.

For others who may be able to program at a basic level, they may be able to improve their own lives by automating some tasks. This is a good thing, as long as the overall benefit is positive. If they just don't like coding, then they may not code for that reason.

Ultimately the fact that not everyone can code is proven by the simple fact that not everyone IS coding. Because there is truly, in this age, nothing standing in anyone's way. If someone is bound and determined to learn to code, then even if they are struggling to acquire enough food to eat, computing resources are so ubiquitous (including free ones) that their failure to exhibit the behavior of programming simply cannot be blamed on a lack of opportunity.

So why aren't they coding? Because they don't "see" why to code! And if they don't see why they should code, it's because they either don't have and will never have an inherent liking for programming (which is necessary to progress beyond an elementary level), plus it's probably true that they will be among those who just can't grasp the basic abstractions involved with coding.

Comment Re: FUCK OFF DICE (Score 1) 659

I think based on a number of factors, and observe, that men and women are very different indeed. I do not think that women contribute nothing different than men, for that would be an unwarranted conclusion, ie., there just isn't enough evidence. The truth is I just don't know. So I have two perspectives on this:

1. As you implied, men and women are emotionally different, as well as different in many ways which we probably don't even know about, plus the other kinds of differences we do know about. Though, the last time I looked into this, there didn't seem to be any remarkable science suggesting that we differ radically in cognitive approach, though there are probably some more subtle general differences that may become better understood in time. There does seem to be slight differences in variance of IQ for ex., though this is probably only relevant at the tails, and not so much for the -0/+2 sigma band likely to account for most programmers. Nor is it clear how differences in IQ map to cognitive skill distributions.

The point being, that I strongly disagree with the self-contradictory nature of feminist arguments, that on one hand gender differences are all socially constructed, yet in the next breath, I hear them tell me how having diversity of gender, race, sexuality, etc. leads to "more solutions."

I don't think there is any proof of this at all. But I will grant you that it is, remotely, plausible.

But if we are going to accept that as an open hypothesis, then there's a big problem with "all gender differences are socially constructed" don't you think? Because, IF the socially constructed theory is true, THEN it is the only mechanism by which diversity of people types can lead to "more solutions!" Yet it is the goal of feminists to ELIMINATE socially constructed conditioning, isn't it? Which means feminism's goals are mutually exclusive. If you eliminate the sources of social conditioning, you are left with an amorphous mass of undifferentiated personalities--in which diversity does not and cannot exist!

2. So to approach this scientifically, we need two things: a) evidence that diversity of gender leads to better solutions--however you want to judge what constitutes better is open to debate. But just "more" solutions I don't think really matters because having more shitty solutions does no one any good, which doesn't help our crusade to make the world a better place does it? b) We need further evidence that *gender* itself is the CAUSE of better solutions. This is tricky, because the social dynamics of co-ed vs. predominantly unisex environments may differ. For pete's sake, there are even pheromones! We have only begun to scratch the surface as to how many subtle variables may be involved, many of which are side effects of gender and yet which may affect outcome.

At this point, I'm quite certain that no such evidence exists for gender being causative of "better solutions". Frankly, I don't even think human beings are capable of carrying out this science objectively in the first place.

So what if it's true anyway? What does it mean? Does it justify force of law to compel male dominated coding communities to invite and "be nice" to women, since it seems the slightest offense can make the typical women completely loose confidence in her most deeply held interests?

Once again we run into a serious problem of logical contradictions and mutually exclusive goals if we go down this road, because remember--the premise is that men and women ARE fundamentally different, or else diversity is FALSE. And so if we are still working with that premise, and we really have no choice because it is true and everybody knows it--then it is also possible (and even likely) that men and women differ significantly in the degree to which their average personalities are drawn to programming!

Therefore, this entire issue of "there aren't enough women in programming" is a non-issue because IT IS THE VERY MANIFESTATION OF DIVERSITY!

Comment Re:Fix the toolset! (Score 1) 659

Why on earth would you teach Java to young students with on average next to zero programming experience? Are you trying your best to ensure that they never want anything to do with programming again for the rest of their lives?

Java is pedagogically useless at a minimum and at worst counterproductive as an introductory language. WTF is a "class" supposed to mean to someone who doesn't even know what a variable is, or why a semicolon is needed? Here, this guy says it better than I can:

Comment Re: FUCK OFF DICE (Score 1) 659

Non-quantifiable nonsense. "Programming" or "coding" are nonsense, just like amateurs without proper background designing bridges and electrical systems. What matters is SOFTWARE ENGINEERING and all that matters in engineering is MEETING THE SPEC! In this regard the programming world is terribly dysfunctional, far beyond any considerations of the proportions of women vs. men.

Unless you can come up with some sort of research that shows quantifiable, objective measurements such as: that when men AND woman collaborate on software engineering projects that the result is smaller, faster, more reliable solutions??? Then there might be something worth considering real about the hypothesis that there is something about one's GENDER that makes them able to come up with fundamentally different kinds of solutions, such that having a deficit of women is therefore predictive of non-optimal results.

However, considering that programming is ultimately just mathematics and logic, I strongly suspect that the exact opposite would be proven, if such terribly costly and time consuming objective measurements could actually be made--that highly mature programmers regardless of gender, converge to quite similar approaches to solving programming problems, when the ultimate criteria for correctness are SPECS. and the merit functions are purely based on code size and execution speed.

Comment Fuck this shit! (Score 1) 140

I just want my phone to call people. I just want my car to go. I want my refrigerator to be cold inside. I want my computer to communicate via email, www, viewing YouTube, online shopping other bullshit, and sometimes to actually compute shit. Why can't things just do what they are for instead of all sorts of other stuff?

I do not want a beer can refrigeration compartment on my phone, a TV in my car, an internet connection on my refrigerator, or my computer to have an engine, wheels, and able to take me to physical places vs. virtual places.

Comment Re:A gap not normally considered (Score 1) 91

Memory busses already transfer more than one octet at a time, in fact, more than the 64-bit architecture size for typical implementations of x64. Having the effective address space for 64-bit words be 61 bits isn't really much of a problem. Who is going to have nearly 2.15GiGiB of memory (attached to one CPU) any time in the next century?

I program the TI C2000 series 32-bit microcontrollers, where the 16-bit word size can be a significant headache when trying to deal with 8-bit IO streams.

So I'd opt to keep the 8-bit memory addressing granularity, or else what are you going to do with all the 8, 16, and 32 bit data? Are you going to store 8-bit data with each byte in one 64-bit memory location? That's obviously silly. Without 8-bit addressability, to get an 8-bit stream to pack each memory cell, you have to do a bunch of algorithmic work (shifting each octet into place in a 64-bit register, making sure things line up where they belong, etc.), whereas with 8-bit addressability, this isn't so difficult.

Comment Re:"When everyone can code . . . " (Score 1) 255

Reading is pattern recognition and mapping to innate experiential meaning primitives conditioned since birth. Writing is just transcription.

Programming is entirely different: decomposition, 1-N stages of abstract generalization, followed by iterative optimization of mapping to the thinking primitives of an alien life form.

All I know is that I've seen people of average intelligence who simply couldn't get the most basic programming concepts. Even if they could grasp programming primitives at some level, they were still miles from being able to know WHY to program. They simply couldn't see the connection between tasks they perform, and telling a computer to do it for them in an automated way.

It seems modern GUIs require us to manually perform many repetitive tasks with our computers. It's highly regressive.

Comment Java bad, OOP bad (Score 1) 18

Don't Distract New Programmers with OOP:

OOP Isn't a Fundamental Particle of Computing:

My 10 yr old has had a few sparks of interest to try using the shell on her Linux box (she's only ever used Linux, except for occasional fiddling on my Surface Pro when we're out and about. She's nearly a Gimp expert, self-taught). I've given her some elementary shell command instruction and guidance, plus some tricks to play with hoping to inspire more curiosity. Now I'll be looking for reinforcing opportunities.

For ex. I had her install Rur-ple by following an instruction, that mostly spelled out what do in some places, but only described what to do in others (based on her prior experience having similar concepts spelled out and practiced a few times.)

In some cases she lurched past my perceptions of her understanding, and in others she stumbled where I thought she should get it.

My job, is to mostly listen and feed additional indirect help when asked. Also, to try very hard to understand what assumptions I take for granted that, absent in her mind, make certain concepts initially extremely non-obvious.

Young kids need to be stepped patiently through the most elementary concepts at times, and yet given room to play with concepts that they grasp and quickly sprout ideas from as to their interesting implications.

Most of all this requires a great deal of sincere kindness, empathy, and humility.

Most of what OOP is about is several levels too high in abstraction for young kinds to deal with. The linked articles explain it well enough.

A language like Python, while being OOP by design, doesn't force one to deal with OOP program design if they don't want. In Java this is not so.

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley