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Comment: Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (Score 3, Interesting) 440

by SJester (#46617199) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill
Anecdotal, but I have another. A friend is finishing her last semester at a major culinary institute; naturally, they generate a lot of spare food at the school. But they are not allowed to take any of it off the campus. Instead, it is destroyed, and for the same reason stated : the school would be sunk if someone contracted food poisoning and sued. The students and staff do eat but sign hefty waivers. Although I do wonder - Costco does at least sell this food under normal circumstances, so apparently they do have a means of dealing with potential suits. I suspect this is more that they don't have protection for this avenue of distribution, only for sale. I don't know how that works in legal terms though.

Comment: Re: Ridiculous. (Score 1) 914

This is getting far off topic for what was intended as a funny thought. But fwiw this isn't an impulse or compulsion. This is a career. We know who is robbing the cars; he's picked up by the police about once a month. This has gone on for at least three years now. He steals change and electronics, then trades for food and weed. He has several routes he travels; when the neighborhood watch spots him they call the police. Lather, rinse, repeat for hundreds of thefts. In turn, he knows the members of the watch and waves hello to them when he isn't robbing cars. It's a genial relationship, much like you might have with the postman or meter reader. I don't care how great the pot is; he knows he will be caught at least once a month. His tactics haven't changed. But detention is not a deterrent for him. It's not like his time is precious anyhow. A jail sentence - maybe. Losing a year is much different than a week. And frankly, either way would be effective. If it deterred him, fantastic. Can't wait to see him go straight. And if he was not deterred, at least it's quiet for a year.

Comment: Re: Ridiculous. (Score 0) 914

I can also airily wave my hand and claim evidence. In fact, I'll claim two centuries of data because that's how magic works. Your data likely only hold water if the punishment or risk remains the same. I'm pretty confident that if this guy were told on his fourth offense that his fifth offense would be met with summary dismemberment and no appeal process, he would likely consider retiring. I'm not proposing such an approach, of course. But it serves to illustrate the argument. People do reconsider when stakes are changed. Deterrents can be effective against a naive potential criminal because it is worked into their initial calculation. But recidivists have already made that calculation and feel it's worth the gamble. If you change the punishment, you change the equation.

Comment: Re: Ridiculous. (Score 2) 914

What about deterrence? The guy who regularly robs cars in this neighborhood continues to do so even after multiple arrests. This is because the punishment is not severe enough to discourage him from pursuing his career. But if he were instead threatened with a mind-bending acid trip to hell, perhaps he'd find something else to do. Or he might like the trip. I don't know, he's kind of nuts.

Comment: Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (Score 1) 529

by SJester (#46537181) Attached to: The Poor Neglected Gifted Child
Have you looked into Maker Spaces? I can recommend a couple in NY. NYC Resistor, for example, has Open Craft Nights where anyone can visit and use the basic tools; more importantly, you're surrounded by other talented amateurs who can help. They also have a laser cutter and a few 3D printers, although those have restrictions and usage fees imposed upon them. There is heavier equipment in the back with some more restrictions; IIRC, a PCB mill, a drill press, and a toaster oven repurposed as a solder reflow oven. I think what struck me most about my first visit to NYCR was the candy machine. Most of the machine was stocked with snacks but the bottom two rows held various breadboards, component packs, and some Arduinos. If you're in a metro area you likely have a Maker Space nearby.

Comment: Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (Score 1) 529

by SJester (#46516757) Attached to: The Poor Neglected Gifted Child
This. I read books through most of my high school classes because holy hell it was ten minutes of basic instruction, then thirty minutes of repeating it slowly with diagrams. I did have amazingly high grades but little else to show for it. And I had great teachers; I just wish they were allowed to tell us what they really knew instead of the plodding pace we were constrained to by the, um, less gifted students. And as others here have pointed out, I did educate myself. But that hardly excuses being abandoned by my ostensible educators; figuring out chemistry on my own was certainly less effective than having an expert explain it. And I couldn't exactly put "autodidact" in the education section of my starting resume. I still don't get it. Those classmates still became taxi drivers and hash slingers and will never again use geometry; why did I not have Calculus II available until college? Why do we force unnecessary education on students who will not use it, while denying advanced topics to students who will treat it as an investment?

Comment: Re:Answer: HR departments (Score 1) 465

by SJester (#45554787) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?
It was this, totally this. HR needs to do HR stuff, that's what they're there for. They make sure there's health insurance, no harassment, people go where they're supposed to, etc. But they're also the first line in the hiring process and that's where it falls apart. I can assume readers here are programmers or something similar. Imagine if you were tasked with writing new code, maintaining some legacy systems, and also with architecting the new building. Way out of your comfort zone, no? But companies think that it's reasonable to ask completely non-tech people to locate, filter, and vet technical people. HR tries to do it but ultimately turns to their IT department to write the req, and now it's a committee camel. An oddly specific committee camel which can locate exactly what it's told to, but will blithely walk past a superior alternative without recognizing it. rant warning (My contempt for HR doesn't extend to the many people who do their jobs competently. But just like every IT department has that bad team member who is marginalized or cut out for the damage they can do to a project, HR has its deadheads too. The difference is that they are in charge of my health insurance, contracts, etc. The best HR person is the same as any other best person in any department. They're the person who can a. recognize when they don't know something b. try to learn enough about it to talk and c. know when to call someone, and whom to call, when it isn't enough. ) /rant

Comment: Re:Answer: HR departments (Score 5, Insightful) 465

by SJester (#45550669) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?
This is completely true. I worked for a headhunter for a while. I was the tech guy who would interview prospects and translate their skills into bullet points for people who need to read bullet points. Meanwhile I had a relative who was a hiring manager at a large firm, so I got to see what happened when the job reqs were sent from IT to HR, what happened when HR put out those reqs, and what happened when I would try to explain to them that Skill X is equivalent to or superseded by Skill Y, and that for example the lack of familiarity with Q was not a showstopper. HR is not populated by techs. These are people who are really good at filing and filling out forms, at shuffling paper, and at bearing up under my contempt for them. But I digress... A position would open up for a developer who was familiar with C++ and experienced with databases and had worked on, IDK, an IBM mainframe. HR would get the req and send it back up with a "Is C++ hardware or software? What model of databases? And is it ok if I should say "familiar with IBM" ?" Eventually the req goes out with "Must have three years of experience with C++, SQL Server, and System/370." This is a small, off-the-cuff and fictional example but it was repeated endlessly.

Comment: Re: Imagine Japan doing the same (Score 1) 211

by SJester (#45400941) Attached to: World War II's Last Surviving Doolittle Raiders Make Their Final Toast
I expected a reply like this. We don't commemorate Hiroshima; we are ashamed by it. It may have been necessary, it's possible it ended the war early, these are debatable topics. But there is no parade, we aren't proud. Sometimes you do what seems best at the time with the information you have. Sometimes you only have bad options. If you want to paint Americans with a broad brush, at least use real data points to found your typecasting. This is completely and entirely different than the Doolittle Raiders which is the actual topic under discussion, and I'd appreciate if you'd leave the strawmen in the fields.

Comment: Re:Imagine Japan doing the same (Score 2) 211

by SJester (#45390493) Attached to: World War II's Last Surviving Doolittle Raiders Make Their Final Toast
You really should have posted as Anonymous Coward; your comment is too stupid to have associated with your name. There is a difference between celebrating an act of aggression vs an act of defense or defiance. Both the Pearl Harbor raid and the Blitz were attacks carried out by expansionist aggressors. The Blitz was in fact deliberately targeting civilians, and both were not fought against incredible odds by a small force using unproven equipment with uncertain support.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 189

by SJester (#45260031) Attached to: Why Johnny Can't Speak: a Cost of Paywalled Research
Weirdly, after the initial effort to digitize the document (which was submitted and edited for the journal electronically in the first place)... after that initial effort they don't amortize their digitizing costs over subsequent customers by sending them the same PDF they so painstakingly prepared, but still charge that full price for their initial effort. Almost as if they were price gouging after all.

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