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Comment: The cold hard reality is good agents not caught (Score 1) 139

by WillAffleckUW (#49622471) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

Anyone with a minimal level of training knows this, and uses methods that our intercepts won't catch.

We only catch the n00bZ.

And, in point of fact, the times we get people to give away things, they're not in the US, but in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan mostly).

Intercepts in the US rarely catch anything useful, and have such a high level of red herrings we waste a lot of resources that would be otherwise used profitably overseas, not in the US itself.

Comment: Re:The Curve on Academic Courses (Score 4, Interesting) 362

by pla (#49620279) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth
I can appreciate the difference between "I don't like this code because it looks different than how I would have written it", and "I don't like this code because the author clearly has no clue how to accomplish the required task and only barely managed to cobble together enough crap to get the desired outputs on a handful of test cases".

The former, I can work with (and sometimes learn from). The latter, I know that I will eventually need to waste more time "helping" the author repair it when it breaks, than I would have just doing it correctly the first time myself.

The real problem here comes not from professional programmers, for the most part (though yes, truly awful "professionals" do exist). The problem comes from having most of the people "programming" in a modern office environment not actually programmers. You have accountants writing god-awful VBA, you have help deskers writing crappy web forms to automate part of their work, you have business analysts who know juuust enough SQL to get an answer, albeit a completely wrong answer, from the data.

This has nothing to do with style, and everything to do with "programming" as an increasingly required bullet point on the average office worker's resume. Yeah, you know some VBA, good for you - Now learn when you can accomplish the same thing with normal Excel formulas, and quit turning every spreadsheet you touch into a smouldering heap of unmaintainable side effects.

Comment: Re:Not just ineffective (EEO bullshit) (Score 1) 519

by pla (#49615133) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'
Ah, so "right" and "wrong" can be determined by popular vote now?

Not so much "popular" as "fiscally responsible".

Society has a compelling interest in keeping people employed as long as possible - Ideally until they drop dead on the job, but as long as possible in any case. The longer someone can't work, the longer society will bear the financial burden to keep them alive. A decade of SSI, we can readily bear when offset by a 40 year career of paying in to that system. 30+ years of welfare because companies "don't want" to hire competent experienced professionals, however? The numbers just don't work out when we allow that to happen on any large scale.

So yes, we as a society have determined, for our own good, that companies (you remember "companies", right? Legal fictions allowed to exist as a boon society grants them in exchange for the small possibility they will benefit us overall?) cannot turn away otherwise-qualified people because of a few protected categories.
It doesn't matter if you don't want to work with blacks - Too fucking bad.
It doesn't matter if you don't want to work with women - Too fucking bad.
It doesn't matter if you don't want to work with fogeys - Too fucking bad.
It doesn't matter if you don't want to work with Jews - Too fucking bad.

If someone can do the job and you don't "want" to work with them, rejecting them for only that reason breaks the law. They have a "right" to consideration for employment regardless of the age, gender, race, or religion; you don't have a "right" to run a company however you want, simple as that.

Comment: Re:hiring 15 year olds (Score 1) 519

by pla (#49614419) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'
McDonald's in town has a help wanted sign out front saying "hiring 15 year olds". Discriminatory?

Possibly by the letter of the law, but probably not under any reasonable interpretation - 15 year olds fit into a special "pain in the ass" category as far as labor laws go, so McD's intends that sign to mean they will hire 15YOs, not that they'll only hire 15YOs.

Comment: Re:Parallel construction? No, just hide the eviden (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by pla (#49611163) Attached to: US Gov't Will Reveal More About Its Secret Cellphone Tracking Devices
The right to face your accusers in court is irrelevant here. They don't present Stingray-obtained evidence in court, just the old-fashioned stuff it led them to.

"Your accuser" doesn't just mean the testimony and evidence against you - How and Why they collected evidence can matter more than that evidence itself.

Just think how much easier it would make police work if they could randomly barge into your house and search for criminal activity without a warrant... Or if they could "find" your DNA at a crime scene by bringing you there after-the-fact to "ask some questions" and you "just happen" to trip and bleed on the scene (but don't worry, an anonymous phonecall assured them you did it).

We have rules in place for a reason. We either always follow them, or they mean nothing.

Comment: Parallel construction? No, just hide the evidence! (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by pla (#49610725) Attached to: US Gov't Will Reveal More About Its Secret Cellphone Tracking Devices
Law-enforcement officials also don't want to reveal information that would give new ammunition to defense lawyers in prosecutions where warrants weren't used, according to officials involved in the discussions.

Un-fucking-believable - Or rather, sadly all too believable.

That one statement right there almost completely expresses everything wrong with modern American legal system.

Mr. Prosecutor, I would point out that if you would so willingly abandon the core principles of our legal system - The ideas of innocent until proven guilty and having the right to face your accuser in court - Why shouldn't we go back to vigilante mob justice and tar-and-feather your worthless ass for breach of public trust?

Comment: Re:Sad commentary on publishing in research (Score 2, Insightful) 300

I'm sorry you're stuck in the 18th Century.

Please reset your Apple Watch to the correct date. It's the 21st Century, the year is 2015.

Most PhD and Masters graduates are women nowadays. In many of the top research fields the majority of faculty are women.

Please be advised the culture shock may be severe. But you will get through it.

It's currently a problem of access to gigabits through punybaud. -- J. C. R. Licklider

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