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Comment Re:I suspect you're doomed to failure :( (Score 3, Insightful) 234

Contractors aren't going to get up to speed any faster than internal resources (sans technology specifics like expertise in a language).

Depends. If he is talking about things like HFT (sub-ms speed and paranoia of employer to share sourcecode), you can get contractors with a lot more that just expertise in language - they know exactly what to code from start till the end, what are common stumbling blocks etc. It is just getting a person to write a http web server, in some alternate world when there are no open source projects and no reliable 3rd part providers. Getting a contractor which has already written 5 web servers for different companies is going to speed you up really a lot.

Such dynamic is not common in other areas - but in other areas, being few % faster than competitor does not let you earn order of magnitude more money. There is huge negative incentive for companies to share their code and no incentive for contractors to spread/share their knowledge in form of open source, as it can directly cuts into their future profits.

Said that, it might something else, because:
- for amount of money you are paid (we are talking 1000+ daily, in whatever currency you happen to like), people are generally willing to relocate, especially for shorter projects, which this one seems to be
- HFT is not exactly a hot subject right now (and they might be already reasonable off-the-shelf solutions, I'm outside of that for some years now)

Comment Re:Radio-controlled racing... (Score 2) 91

Because it is about flying, not about radio control. Think Star Wars pod race/death star trench/etc kind of flying, rather than boring 'safe circle' racing. Remote control is just a side requirement, because you cannot make these kind of race safe enough to put people inside helicopters racing through narrow canyons, but you can accept 70% 'fatality' rate on drones.

As for existing R/C vehicles, let me guess, they were trying to recreate real race conditions as much as possible, just in smaller scale, rather then trying to innovate? Because they were more 'I'm too afraid to drive real car race, so let's pretend' camp rather than 'real car races are way too boring and safe, let's use robots so we don't have to worry about accidental deaths'? If anything, I would rather compare it to all the robot-fights leagues which are out there - just taking it into air and focusing more on racing than fighting (we will see how much more).

Comment Re:Just the social "justice" mentality at work. (Score 1) 186

The no-poaching agreement in which he was complicit cost me, personally, > $480,000.

Was it actual money you had to pay out of your savings, not-realized-gains you would be guaranteed to get if it has not happened, or not-realized-gains you think you would most probably get assuming there was no-poaching agreement?

Comment Re:No Context (Score 1) 186

Have they really got blacklisted? I was under impression that just cold-calls were forbidden (so Google cannot call Apple employee without invitation, to ask him if he would like to switch jobs), but there was nothing against getting people if THEY have shown interest first (and certainly not about automatically failing them later).
Can you point to the link which clearly documents that late rejection with no reason given in case it was the employee looking to switch jobs?

Comment Wrong shade of pink (Score 5, Interesting) 214

My daughter (7 years old) spend 10 minutes choosing proper shade of pink for a cat in her first Scratch game. I don't think that Wolfram can even start to compete in same category of fun. She was a lot more interested in possibilities of making things meow or bark rather than trivially connecting her results to per square-furlong gross national product of 10 most polluted cities in the world.

If you are targeting 12-15 year olds, sure, pick whatever. They are forced to learn French, they can be forced to learn any other strange programming language. But for 5-8 year olds, let us play with Scratch. And having to explain that father does bit different things at work than picking between pink colors for cats... he picks between different shades of blue for odd lines in table css... yes, it is kind of a cat for grownups, just square and painted in blue stripes.

Comment Re:Why is the human race so important (Score 2) 235

We might be only intelligent beings in universe. There is a reasonable probability there won't be a second chance for developing high technology civilization on Earth, even if new intelligent species will evolved in hundred million years, due to available of easy accessible metals and fossil fuels. It would mean that when humanity dies out, there won't be a sentience ever again in universe.

This is depressing thought. Indeed, if you are strong subscriber to "après nous, le déluge", it doesn't matter... but it is not a healthy maxim to live by.

Comment Re:He's not wrong (Score 2) 235

We are better off than 100 years ago, but are we better off than 50 years ago?

Depends on definition of 'we'. I think, that, weighted by population, world is a lot better than 50 years ago. Enough to look at China - while it has its great firewall right now and monitors its citizen lives extensively, I still don't think it in any way compares with Cultural Revolution times in terms of 'oppression'.
Same for Eastern block - life under USSR directorate was a lot more oppressing that what is happening right now.

If we focus on Western countries in particular (so limiting ourselves to 20% or so of the world)... maybe you are right - I don't know about the living history enough, being raised in Eastern block. I still think that many people would consider mandatory conscription to fight in Vietnam War quite bad and 'oppressing' today.

I suppose that rather than reaching 100 or 50 years in the past, we should settle on 20 or 25 years. I would agree that period of 1989(end of cold war)-2001(WTC attack) is probably 'golden age' for freedom and things are going downhill from there. But I would consider these 12 years more as a statistical fluke rather than a rule...

Comment Re:He's not wrong (Score 5, Insightful) 235

Advances in computing have enabled oppression that would have been unimaginable not even a few decades ago.

Yes, because slaves in ancient Egypt or early USA were not really 'oppressed'. Nobody was monitoring their tweets, nobody was invoking 'protection from terrorists' while bodypatting them before they boarded their business class flights for holiday trips, they haven't to copy with uncertainty of their routers having hardware embedded backdoors done by NSA and there was no risk of them being caught in the city because of CCTVs monitoring.

Every time I hear people claiming how bad contemporary freedoms are, I really wish them being sent to middle ages or earlier and put into non-ruling class shoes. Spending few years as serf, not being allowed to own anything, move more than few miles from your place of birth, reading anything except Bible (if you even knew how to read in first place) and having your relatives raped by local lord on the whim without any chances of going to the court would probably put things into perspective.

Comment Re:Why care? (Score 2) 235

It is your gene pool, even these are not your descendants. Helping your brother to have 4 children will contribute more to 'spreading' your gene pool than having 1 child yourself.
In any case, you should care more about your memes (not the internet kind) and these are hard to pass down if humanity goes extinct.

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