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Comment: Re:Jury Panel (Score 4, Informative) 1198

by ben_white (#46881729) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

For that, closed mental institutions exist.

Closed mental institutions don't exist anymore. Since the late 60's we have, as a society, been systematically closing these vital institutions. This has made our penal system our de facto long term option for people like this with untreatable mental disease.

Comment: Re:get experience on your resume' (Score 1) 913

by ben_white (#36570188) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

The person that hired me was interested not in my current knowledge, but in my talents and in my ability to learn and adapt/grow. You can't learn that in college, and the smart managers know that.

Your university degree is a concrete example of your ability to "learn, adapt/grow." Don't discount the value of the time, energy and money you invested in that degree.

Comment: Re:No offense intended, but... (Score 1) 913

by ben_white (#36570148) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

...how to put it politely? Nope, can't think of a gentle way to say it, so quite bluntly, you are an idiot.

You may be the best programmer in the world, but without studying the things you now consider to be a waste of your time, you do not know how to think or communicate.

Being better at what you consider your job is not everything. You need general education to be able to handle all of the other work-place and meat-space things that are not programming related.

I disagree completely. He's not an idiot, he is probably a good programmer, and that is all he wants to be, and there is nothing wrong with that. He is missing the boat, that a broad, general education will take him further, but what I got out of his question is that he wants to be a good and employed programmer. Not everyone needs to know about the Peloponnesian War, or say Chaucer.

People who have the interest and are willing to bear the work and price and acquire a general education have a significant advantage in life, politics and business. The OP, however, doesn't want that, and we don't have to force everyone through the same post-secondary general education to have a well educated and productive workforce.

Comment: Re:You underestimate the value (Score 1) 913

by ben_white (#36569768) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

What you're saying is almost EVERY University outside of the United States is just a trade school. (emphasis mine)

You are making the mistake that "trade school" is a dirty word. Yes, post-secondary (university) education can be a "trade school" if it focuses solely on core competencies of a particular profession. This also includes medical and law degrees that are seen in the US as the pinnacle of being educated. There is nothing wrong with programs being run by universities that are essentially post-secondary trade-schools (medical schools, law schools, engineering programs). But don't mistake advanced "trade-school" training with a true education.

I agree with you that in the attempt to force a general education on all comers to the university they do dumb down those courses to the point that they are likely a waste of time. If you've ever taken real university general education courses you know that they aren't there to teach the basic mechanics of writing, comprehension, etc. That is the job of the secondary schools. Real university courses are teaching critical thinking and expression, as well a exposing you to a slightly larger slice of the sum of human knowledge.

If you don't see the value of a broad education, you likely don't need one and won't get the benefits of one if offered to you!

Comment: Re:You underestimate the value (Score 1) 913

by ben_white (#36569676) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

If you don't have those things, that's fine, but that's not a BS or a BA, thats a trade school education.

I'd mod up to +6 if I could. Vocational and trade education is undervalued in our society. Vocational and professional education programs (including MD, JD, etc) are not general education. The value of broad (read liberal-arts) post-secondary education is easy to underestimate, as it's benefits are subtle. I personally believe engineers with a broad general education will likely be the real innovators, but it's not necessary for much of the real work being done everyday. So for people who don't want the general education requirements we should have high quality programs that provide the necessary technical skills to allow them to work in industry.

Comment: Jetpack or Personal Helicopter (Score 2) 178

by ben_white (#36279186) Attached to: Martin Jetpack Climbs 5000 Feet Above Sea Level
This is very cool, but it looks more like a personal helicopter than a true jetpack. Certainly could get people into inaccessible areas, but with how much gear, and you couldn't bring much of anything back (like an injured hiker, etc..). Still, quite a feat of engineering. I hope he gets investors!

Comment: Re:Thank god! (Score 1) 314

by ben_white (#31858474) Attached to: Heavy US Demand Delays iPad's Worldwide Release

FUCK THIS SHIT, and fuck all the Apple astroturfers like Paska just below [slashdot.org].

I'm not sure how this comment is insightful. If you look at the comment numbers for these stories, the community is interested. Just because Apple seems to offend you in some way doesn't make stories about their products inappropriate. If there were five stories and almost not interest in them (as measured by comments), then I would agree with you, but the community is interested!

If you don't want to see continued Apple stories, stop reading and commenting. If they stop garnering the heavy traffic, then you'll get your wish; fewer stories. But then what you would you spend your time doing, and where would you put your comments?

Comment: Re:sustainable growth (Score 1) 432

by ben_white (#31858044) Attached to: The Genius In Apple's Vertical Platform

You can't keep doing that because technology does not evolve at the pace people want new gadgets. So, people get disillusioned, you push out new products in hopes of quelling the whining and your products can't live up to their reputation. Maybe jobs is just planning on being relevant for 10 years, dunno.

This reminds me of the joke of the two campers who are surprised at night by a bear. The first camper calmly begins putting on his shoes while the second one freaks out and begins to run screaming "those shoes won't help you outrun the bear." The first camper answers "I don't have to outrun the bear."

Your statement is probably true. But if Apple is successful in vertical integration they can stay ahead of their competition in offering new and compelling devices, even if not quite up to consumer expectations. They have a pretty good track record over the last decade.

Vertical integration has substantial risks, and is difficult to pull off. Many companies try and end up selling off the acquired assets at a loss a few years later. If Apple can pull it off, I doubt they'll be the flash in the pan you suggest.

Comment: Re:Yes it does change things (Score 2, Informative) 2424

by ben_white (#31573844) Attached to: House Passes Massive Medical Insurance Bill, 219-212

I remember when that Cobra (or, Corba?) thing was passed, making it possible to keep your health insurance between jobs. Big joke. My insurance was costly while I was employed. When I was laid off, the price quadrupled.

It's COBRA (consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act of 1986), and you are wrong. The price didn't quadruple, you are just now responsible for all of the premium. Prior to losing your job your employer was fitting 3/4 of the bill, and you kicked in the rest. COBRA benefits allow you to continue your coverage as long as you pay all of the premium. Which is still a deal, especially if you have ongoing medical needs when you lose your job. See here for details.

Comment: Re:Health insurance is a tax now (Score 1) 2424

by ben_white (#31573682) Attached to: House Passes Massive Medical Insurance Bill, 219-212
I agree with much of what you say. This

the new system incentivizes everything backwards. It is now optimal for healthy people to go without health insurance, perhaps with just catastrophic coverage

scenario is, however, anticipated and covered in the new bill. Insurers are not allowed to vary premiums by more than a ratio of 1:3. This means that if you offer a high deductible/co-pay plan (your catastrophic coverage) to young and healthy individuals for $100/mo, you must also offer the same coverage to anyone else who will pay you for no more than $300. This prevents insurance companies from picking off the young and healthy by offering low cost insurance they know will rarely be used, and pricing plans for groups with more medical needs astronomically high, to avoid signing up any of those customers. The companies will continue to try to tailor benefit packages to attract healthier customers, and they'll be successful to some extent, but this problem has been anticipated.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison

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