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Comment: Re:I kind of agree (Score 1) 229

Whilst most jobs don't _require_ coding skills, a lot of them would be done more efficiently if people had those skills.

Depending on the level of your coding skills, you are either harmless, dangerous, or useful.

You need to learn quite a bit to skip over "dangerous" into the "useful" territory.

Very much depends on what you're doing. If you're writing stuff that's going to be used by other people (possibly networked) then yes, there is potential for danger. More commonly, we're talking about a quickly hacked up bit of code to process some one-off data, which carries very little danger.

Comment: Re:Don't make kids learn to code (Score 1) 229

Why are be so pressing on kids to learn coding? If a kid wants to learn coding, they'll learn coding, if they don't want to, they won't. If we start forcing kids to learn computer programming it will be no better then when we force kids to take Shakespeare, Drama, History or Art. Don't make kids learn anything they aren't interested in, because when you do that, they'll never give it a real shot.

While I agree to some extent, I think you do need to give kids the initial push into trying something they have never done before - for the most part, unless it is a universally fun activity, people won't see how they could enjoy something until they've actually had a serious go at it.

Comment: Re:I kind of agree (Score 1) 229

Personally, I am sort of conflicted on the issue. On one hand, this is a topic not for everyone. Every school should have a CS program, but it should be an elective.

I'm not sure why it should be elective at younger ages when other classes are not. e.g. when I was at school (before starting my GCSEs), I was _required_ to do art, music and French(*), all of which I was terrible at, and I'd argue were far less useful than some basic CS stuff.

(*) I'm actually in favor of teaching a second language to kids, and this has been shown to be a big help with mental development too. However, the current system here is to only start teaching a second language in secondary school, by which point it is way too late.

The closest thing to a required computer class these days should be on the art of typing, because hunt-and-peck is not the way to go on anything outside of a tablet / phone.

I don't think I've seen any kids doing hunt-and-peck for decades. Given that kids have access to computers from a very young age, they learn to type fast naturally, no need to teach this.

Comment: Re:I kind of agree (Score 2) 229

I get that everyone wants to teach kids to do what they like because they think they are the best version of human and obviously it is best for humanity if your life template is copied as much as possible, but I don't get why it is so obvious to everyone that getting everyone to code is so beneficial.

There is a LOT to life, and not everyone needs to be doing the same things, or is even capable or willing to do those things. Everyone has different strengths and limitations. Even if you go on about how learning to code teaches a lot of associated skills, those same skills can be learned many other ways.

I dunno, it just feels like all this "TEACH ALL KIDZ TO CODE, LOL" going around is a bunch of mutual masturbation and self-fellatio.

Whilst most jobs don't _require_ coding skills, a lot of them would be done more efficiently if people had those skills. I would argue that knowing some basics about coding is probably more useful to the "average person" than a large chunk of the history, biology, maths, art, geography, etc. classes that we send kids to today.

Of course, what's "most useful" shouldn't be the only criteria used in education - giving someone a well rounded education is also an excellent idea, but I think it's hard to argue that teaching people some basic coding skills wouldn't also fit into that.

Comment: Re:Doesn't get it (Score 3, Insightful) 229

Yeah, because as soon as you're taught something you have to go out and get a job based on it. In another time this would have been like querying whether kids should be taught to read and write in primary school...

Unlike reading and writing there is absolutely no evidence supporting to faux claim that children must learn to develop computer programmes. Mark Zuckerburg et. al. are the social parasites.

You could say the same about a lot of subjects though - do children _have_ to understand maths, history, geography, art, music, etc? However, having a broad education is a Good Thing. Furthermore, being able to write simple code can be a massive help in many non-coding jobs.

For example, my wife is a hospital doctor - probably the last thing you'd expect that job to need is coding skills. However, she needs to do audits over records occasionally, and I end up writing simple Python scripts for her to process the data - she has no coding skills, so without me to do that she would be spending hours doing stuff manually that I can write code in minutes to do. She tells me that her IT classes at secondary school were almost entirely taken up by teaching about the health and safety concerns related to using computers, rather than actually learning how to use them. I'm 5 years older (which puts me in the BBC/Acorn era) and my GCSE level IT classes taught me some basics about word processors, databases, etc, but no coding - I learnt to code in my own time. Being _taught_ to code didn't happen until A levels in my case, by which time anyone who isn't planning to have a career in computing or electronics has opted out in favor of other subjects.

Comment: Re:The Chinese are not the soviets (Score 1) 247

by hey! (#49793149) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

The chinese and americans make too much money off each other to go to war with each other.

Which of course means we are no threat whatsoever to to each other, because on both sides of the relationship the leadership is and is guaranteed continued to be completely rational.

Comment: Re: Seems reasonable (Score 2) 117

That, and we must never forget that as much as we may applaud the insurance company in this particular story for calling out poor practices, the primary purpose of a modern insurance company is to take your money and give you nothing in return. Everybody needs to be very aware of that, and be untrusting in all your dealings with anyone in the insurance business.

As in all industries, there are the good and the bad. I would posit that you are speaking about "bad" insurance companies, not good ones. Not every insurance company dreams of giving you "nothing in return" for your premium dollars. Quite the contrary, if insurance companies never paid any claims, there would be no need for them, and their premiums would dry up immediately. The primary purpose of an insurance is to transfer risk... in effect, pooling it and transferring the risk from one entity to several/many. Believe it or not, this enables many things. Even things like the Ansari X-Prize. The organization awarding the prize didn't have the money to pay the prize, they only had about half of it. They used that to buy an insurance policy, which paid the claim when the prize was won. Regardless, most insurance companies invest in their claim handling capabilities as it is a competitive advantage to have good claim paying history. Doubt it? Compare "The General" auto insurance claims paying vs. USAA or Amica. The latter pride themselves on claim paying. Personally, I have a policy for my house, that recently paid a claim and paid on items I never expected them to reimburse me for. Their claim handler went out of her way to make sure I got far more money than I had anticipated. The bottom line is that its easy to pick on insurance companies, but if you do your research and buy policies from reputable companies, you'll likely have a great experience with them when you have to file a claim. If you go for the cut rate, "The General" type companies, well you got what you paid for.

Comment: Re:next up: ban cars (Score 1) 116

by hey! (#49790609) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Well, driving cars in urban centers generally sucks between the traffic and finding parking. The problem is people are too stubborn to get their act together and provide abundant satellite parking and transit links. Sure, driving your car right up to a store is ideal when you're the only one doing it, but there's a reason malls are built with parking on the periphery and pedestrian access at the core. If parking was the most pleasant and convenient way to get a lot of people into a confined area you'd be able to drive right into Disney World and park your car at Space Mountain.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 3, Insightful) 116

by hey! (#49790515) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Anything that happens inflates someone's bank account. If governments ban CFCs then people with CFC substitutes get a windfall. If governments don't ban CFCs then makers of sunscreen and skin cancer treatments get a windfall.

This is how capitalism works -- how it's supposed to work. Problems attract capital, which generates profits. But it's also how market solutions fall short. It's better for the public if someone makes a killing replacing CFC than if someone else makes a killing treating skin cancer.

Comment: Misses the strategic imperative for Android. (Score 1) 337

by hey! (#49790287) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Google's core businesses would be seriously damaged if Apple obtained a monopoly on mobile computing. If it breaks even and prevents Apple hegemony it's as much of a success as it needs to be.

As for the supposed switching of Android users to iPhone, notice the tortured stipulations in this sentence: "the 'majority' of those who switched to iPhone had owned a smartphone running Android." It's also no doubt true that the majority of users who switched to new Android phone had owned a smartphone running Android in the past. The vast majority of smartphones out there are Android, and that's been true for years now, so it's not surprising that someone buying a new smartphone of any kind has previously owned *some* android handset.

Comment: Re:Time for a new law that prevents this (Score 1) 125

by FireFury03 (#49789669) Attached to: High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

I've been wondering for a while whether the affected ISPs would have cause to sue the government/courts/publishers for compensation as a result of losing customers due to the enforced filtering (which doesn't apply to smaller ISPs). TTIP sounds like it would open up that possibility if they can't already...

Comment: Re:Consumption's up (Score 4, Interesting) 125

by FireFury03 (#49789581) Attached to: High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

Or I could just buy it easily from Amazon, and strip the DRM for backup purposes.

My take on this is that if I'm required to infringe copyright on a legally purchased product in order to make sensible use of it, why should I actually purchase it instead of just infringing copyright and getting it for free from a torrent?

For the record, I don't do either - I've steered away from ebooks entirely until the publishers stop taking the piss. Since books were invented there have been various generally accepted things that everyone did with them that ebooks don't allow you to do: e.g. if I buy a paper book, I can read it, then pass it on to my wife to read, lend it to a friend to read, stick it on the book shelf for years, then hand it onto kids to read, who can hand it onto their kids, or I can sell it, etc. Compare to the T&Cs of Google Play (as an example) which say that I'm not even allowed to lend my tablet to my wife so that she could read an ebook I purchased, let alone actually transfer it to someone else's device. When I can get ebooks with the same rights as I have for paper books, I'll think about buying some.

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning