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Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 77

by mrchaotica (#49545967) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

I have never understood why if your company makes something that is shipped in glass jars why you would care if they are reused or not unless you receive back the old jars like Coke use to do with glass bottles to refill and resell.

Liability, maybe? I think Classico was irrationally worried about getting sued by somebody whose jar exploded while being used for canning (either during the process, due to the heat, or afterwards from bacteria growth due to an improper seal).

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 391

by bluefoxlucid (#49545793) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

Isn't taking Adderall to study longer another way to employ your brain differently?

In the same way that beating something with a wrench and beating it *faster* with a wrench is different, yes.

Do you dispute that a highly motivated intelligent student would perform better with more time to study?

No. I dispute that an un-motivated, idiotic student with more time to study would perform similar to a highly-motivated, intelligent student. I suggest that an un-motivated, idiotic student would perform similar to a highly-motivated, intelligent student if the former learned to use motivational techniques (e.g. examine the material to study, briefly analyze it from an engineering standpoint, and incorporate it into something of high interest to you) and mental techniques (e.g. SQ3R studying, deliberate practice, mnemonics) similar to those employed by the latter or such as to make them regard the material in a similar way to the latter.

Imagine a future where finishing college in 4 years is a red flag that you don't work hard enough. Where all the high achievers finish in three years with an internship every year and studying abroad and some kind of volunteer project on the side while being in 5 different on-campus organizations and leading at least one of them. And then when that's all over, the same people are expected to work 100-hour weeks all the time.

Besides solving poverty, I am working on the more difficult task of creating an education system which equips small children up-front with the mental tools and techniques to function as geniuses. This has produced some interesting reflections about the nature of education and poverty--that you need tailored strategies for the local culture to make the education system actually work, and so must have a different approach to the same education in poor, inner-city ghettos--among other things. What, then, would you say about a world where not having the education which turns any arbitrary human into a genius is a disadvantage? Is it much different?

I will tell you that I am strongly tolerant of psychosis. I have been afflicted with drug-induced psychosis and with psychologically-induced psychosis. I spent a decade on methylphenedate, eventually paired with risperdal, which induced weak drug psychosis; from this, much of my life has been spent as a collection of many points of view, in which I am a single person existing dozens or hundreds of times, and can move between these viewpoints at will so as to avoid stress. I also learned to stand up separate personalities (under my control, but also semi-autonomous), and so was able to supply myself with constant psychiatric counseling using an array of internal counselors. I was later exposed to prednizone--this was a mistake, and caused severe mood swings, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and so forth; I of course recognized and controlled these mental disturbances, with no outwardly-visible detriment.

Along with the drug-induced psychosis, I've triggered arguably-worse psychotic episodes from psychological burn-out, learning too many things at once, too fast. The results are similar. There is also the strange loss of touch with reality from this: hyper-immersion in work and study tends to make everything around you look like that work, for example making physical automobile traffic seem like something you could improve with the skillful use of firewalls...somehow.... This is a well-known psychiatric condition caused in normal human beings exposed to excessive job stress; it's actually common for college students to suffer dramatic neurotic breakdown in their late third or early fourth year.

Given that simply using your brain too hard can easily cause serious psychiatric pathology, what opinion do you have of simply improving the general education system?

Comment: What exactly ARE we seeing in that "flythrough?" (Score 1) 43

by dpbsmith (#49544965) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Flythrough video -- I have no objection to enhanced pictures but I do want to understand exactly what I am looking at. There can't possibly be enough parallax for any traditional stereo imaging.

Where does the depth information in a video like this come from, and what has happened here--has the image been basically digitized and then completely regenerated by shifting every image pixel in it according to its distance from the virtual "camera" position?

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 316

by IamTheRealMike (#49544707) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The context is US employees. The majority of employees are in the US

No it's not and no they aren't. Most Google employees and most Google revenues are outside the USA.

Name your country with a significant number of Google employees in which Google routinely hires people who do not speak an official language of that country, please.

Switzerland, as just one example.

Young people are working long hours, as you said yourself. Those young people are not staying, as the data confirms

Jesus christ, you're bad at this. The data doesn't say that. Google has very low attrition rates and always has. If all the young people were burning out and leaving the average age would be higher than it is, wouldn't it?

Google are low on gender, age, and race diversity compared to nearly every other tech company

You haven't shown that, or even begun to lay the groundwork for that. The demographics of Google engineering are pretty similar to the demographics of people taking CS courses at universities, which should not be surprising to anyone.

Like a few of my friends who walked away from the Google interview process, the moment I started hearing discussions of fitting into the "culture", I saw that it was a business comprised of smart but narrowminded techs who did not really know any better

All organisations have cultures, it's inherent to any group of people that's allowed to be selective. If you don't believe this then all that suggests to me is you work at a place where you fit in well enough that you don't recognise that there is a culture at all.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 316

by IamTheRealMike (#49544163) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Who said anything about the USA? You realise Google has offices all over the world, right?

And who said anything about burning out? You're the one who decided that must happen. I've not seen any burned out young people at Google. The only burnout I knew there was a guy in his 50s.

And the only "evidence" of discrimination in hiring comes from this article, which is deeply questionable. Amongst other things it assumes every employee at Google does software development, which is very far from true (there is a massive sales division that skews young for the same reason bar staff do - it's not a very appealing long term job).

Comment: Re:Personally, I don't think he was talking to Goo (Score 1) 316

by IamTheRealMike (#49543943) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

It's sounds bizarre but could have happened. Some people do crazy stuff to get a job there. When I was an interviewer there, part of interview training was learning tricks to detect candidates who were looking up answers on the internet. Sometimes you could ask a question and hear them typing in the background.

The article says the interviewer requested him to read the code out over the phone and that the interviewer was barely fluent in English. Those are two massive red flags that something odd was happening.

Google has a large pool of interviewers and some of them are better than others. There's no doubt about that. But in many years of working there I never encountered anyone with less than excellent English skills, and I cannot imagine anyone asking a candidate to read code out over the phone. That's just an obviously stupid thing to try and do, especially when the candidate offered to share it via Google Docs. SOP there is to send the candidate a Docs link for shared coding together, but even if something went wrong with that process, when the candidate offers to fix it that sounds and the interviewer refuses that sounds very much like he wasn't really talking to a Google employee. Think about it - if the person on the other end of the phone was a MITM then he'd need to have given his own very obviously non email address to receive the document. Busted.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 1) 316

by IamTheRealMike (#49543921) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

I always joked that if you ask me to write a sort routine in the interview, I'm going to lecture you about why you need to go off the shelf, and doesn't Google have anyone who can make a shareable library? Do we really need to know how to code a lightning sort ad hoc? To sell more ads? heh

Then you wouldn't get hired. Former Google interviewer, 220+ interviews. I used to pretty frequently ask candidates to solve the following problem: write a program that loads lines of text from a file, shuffles them, and writes them back out again.

The reason companies like Google ask ridiculously academic questions in interviews (and that question is academic) is not because they're all ignoramuses who can't imagine anything outside their PhD box. It's because judging someone's technical and programming ability in under an hour any other way is really freaking hard. If you haven't done a lot of interviewing then it's easy to imagine, "If I were hiring, I'd only ask questions that REAL programmers would solve". But then you try lots of different kinds of questions and discover that for most of them, by the end of the interview you often have no real clue about whether the candidate can actually write a functioning program. CVs and qualifications are no help - they routinely seem to have no correlation with actual demonstrated skill.

Speed-coding whilst someone is watching you in a high pressure environment is difficult at the best of times. Doing it from scratch for any kind program of you're likely to actually write in the real job is impossible - nobody codes up a fully blown web app with the latest stack de jure (which Google doesn't use anyway) in 45 minutes. You don't even know what languages the candidate knows, in some cases, as not everyone thinks to put them on the CV. So you end up asking for a small, simple program that shows basic knowledge of basic language constructs like looping and different kinds of lists. Then there's time to write some code and ask questions about it. Additionally, there are multiple "off ramps" so even slow candidates don't feel like they are running out of time and panic, but faster candidates can keep being challenged with minor modifications to the task.

For what it's worth, if someone answered this question by writing a program that ran Collections.shuffle() or their chosen languages equivalent, that resulted in them being marked up not down, because you're right - knowledge of standard libraries is important and a good sign of experience. Then I'd ask them to do it again without using the standard library because I also want to see if they can write the code themselves. Using the most correct or optimal algorithm is not the goal, even if the question sounds algorithmic. It's just a scenario to get them doing things with data structures and basic control logic.

For what it's worth I am skeptical about the ages in the summary. If the average age at Google is 29 then that pretty much matches the average age across 25,000 developers on StackOverflow, which gave an answer of 30. However I suspect that the median age in engineering is higher if you take into account tech leads and technical management, and the age for the entire company is biased lower by the enormous ad sales organisation. That always seemed to me to be populated entirely by recent university grads. Selling ads is hardly exciting work with great potential for career advancement and doesn't require any specialist skills, so the people who do that tend to be young, and there have historically been massive numbers of them (like half the company).

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 4, Insightful) 316

by IamTheRealMike (#49543885) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

So, you're confirming that young employees are overworking, which is the first part of the hypothesis, although then you go into a marketing style tangent with, "It's just that they are so excited that they don't want to go home!!!" That sounds pretty unhealthy to me, especially given the present evidence of attrition suggesting that it is not a sustainable way of working.

It's not marketing, it's the truth. I worked there for nearly 8 years. By the way, I'm 31.

Google is (a) a very desirable employer and (b) hires people from all over the world. The combination of these things mean that many, many developers, especially younger ones that move from poorer countries, get relocated across borders. They arrive in a new country where they don't speak the language, quite often with a girlfriend or wife in tow, and frankly many of them don't quite dive into making friends and socialising as much as perhaps would be a good idea. Combination of new city, no social life + interesting work == lots of people working odd hours. Eventually they do settle down and the hours get more normal.

But programming has always been this way, hasn't it? I never heard a lawyer say, "I've been doing lawyering since I was 8 years old" but it happens in software all the time. It's a sort of work that many people just enjoy doing, and do it as a hobby as well as a job.

You can't take damsel here now.