Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Make them drink it ... (Score 1) 117

The chemical, which is also commonly used in paint and cosmetics, is known to have caused tumors in rodents, though scientists have not determined if those carcinogenic properties translate to humans.

Those are some of my favorite weasel phrases in this type of article.

"Just because the chemical strips paint and causes mammals to dissolve into puddles of toxic goo does not mean it's unsafe for humans."

So drink up, Mr Koch.

Comment: Re:Defense of the Article (Score 1) 216

by eldavojohn (#49620497) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

So there could be two groups, those who look to improve their skill, who quickly distance themselves from the group that doesn't. Of course, there will still be wide variance in skill between the members of each group. I'm sure you can think of other ways it could happen.

No, I can't. I started out and I sucked. I got better eventually through experience. In order for it to be truly bimodal, people have to start in either camp A or camp B and end in the same camp they started in. Because if you transition from one to another over time, any point in time will capture a group of people in between the modes. Now, you can argue that people don't spend much time in between those modes but you haven't presented any evidence for that. What's more likely is you have geocities coders on one tail and John Carmack/Linus Torvolds on the other tail. And in between are people like the presenter and I. And since I'm not instantaneously going from bad to good, the reality of the situation is most likely some degree of a normal curve filled with people trying to get better at programming or even just getting better though spending lots of time doing it and learning a little along the way.

For all your attacks on the presenter, your argument of a bi-modal distribution sounds more flawed to me. I would love to see your study and hear your argument.

Comment: key skill (Score 1) 216

by lkcl (#49620323) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

the key skill needed for programming is to be *able to pay attention to detail*. if you are unable, by any means, to focus on one thing for any length of time (because, for example, you have the attention span of a spider on cocaine or worse caffeine, because, for example, you have been brought up on txting and IMing and twittah) then it should come as absolutely no surprise that you are utterly useless at programming.

another person mentions that creativity is needed in programming. well, yes, this is true. if you have a bug that you don't know how it got there, you need to be extraordinarily patient [attention to detail] with yourself and your work, going over it *creatively* in different ways until such time as you have found, understood and then fixed the bug.

if you do not have the patience because you are, once again, brought up on a diet of twitter, instant gratitfication and refined sugar products, *no amount* of creativity is going to help if you cannot apply it.

i call myself a programmer: what i actually have is obsessive compulsion to be able to pay attention to one task for spans of time that exceed healthy limits. i can be freezing cold and not even notice... because i'm debugging something. only sheer complete exhaustion can get through under those circumstances. this is where it helps to be working in part of a team, as it sets some structure for social interaction. it's no accident, then, that there are entrepreneurs [this goes back a few years on slashdot - there's an article somewhere] who *only* take on *english language* majors [US i presume], and train them to be programmers. why? because people who can *communicate* turn out to make better programmers than people who have been through a university-driven programming course.

Comment: Defense of the Article (Score 1) 216

by eldavojohn (#49619837) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

This guy doesn't know how to measure programming ability, but somehow manages to spend 3000 words writing about it.

To be fair, you can spend a great deal of time talking about something and make progress on the issue without solving it.

For example the current metrics are abysmal so it's worth explaining why they're abysmal. I just was able to delete several thousand lines of JavaScript from one of my projects after a data model change (through code reuse and generalization) -- yet I increased functionality. My manager was confused and thought it was a bad thing to get rid of code like that ... it was absolute dopamine bliss to me while he felt like our production was being put in reverse. KLOC is a terrible metric. But yet we still need to waste a lot of breath explaining why it's a terrible metric.

Another reason to waste a lot of time talking about a problem without reaching an answer is to elaborate on what the known unknowns are and speculate about the unknown unknowns. Indeed, the point of this article seemed to be to advertise the existence of unknown unknowns to "recruiters, venture capitalists, and others who are actually determining who gets brought into the community."

So he doesn't know......programmer ability might actually be a bi-modal distribution.

Perhaps ... but that would imply that one does not transition over time from one hump to the next or if they do, it's like flipping a light switch. When I read this I assumed that he was talking only about people who know how to program and not "the average person mixed in with programmers."

If he had collected data to support his hypothesis, then that would have been an interesting article.

But you just said there's no way to measure this ... how could he have collected data? What data set could have satiated us? The answer is quite obvious and such collection would have been a larger fool's errand than the original article's content.

+ - Recent Paper Shows Fracking Chemicals in Drinking Water, Industry Attacks It->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences turned up 2-Butoxyethanol from samples collected from three households in Pennsylvania. The paper's level headed conclusion is that more conservative well construction techniques should be used to avoid this in the future and that flowback should be better controlled. Rob Jackson, another scientist who reviewed the paper, stressed that the findings were an exception to normal operations. Despite that, the results angered the PR gods of the Marcellus Shale Gas industry and awoke beltway insider mouthpieces to attack the research — after all, what are they paying them for?
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I've been in the business since I was 19 (Score 1) 491

Core was ram wasn't it?

Anyway, I used to do uni teaching about 4 years ago. The practical course I helped run involved programming with a whole 64 actual bytes of RAM (you want k, rich boy?). Rather more modern, but as usual the constraints are about cost and power draw but at the fractions of a cent and nano watt level.

Resource constrained programming hasn't gone away, it's probably bigger now than it ever was, but it's very well hidden.

I think it was a PIC12F675 or maybe a 10F series one. I don't recall precisely.

Of course you get a much faster machine to run the editor, assembled simulator and debugger.

I really came to appreciate those chips. The dedication of the builders to shaving cost and power while making the absolute most of the few transistors they were willing to use is impressive!

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 36

Oh god, it's rare to see such bad English here. Maybe they got my ex's brother to write that page ;) And can they not tell the difference between their accent and apostrophe keys? Also, what stupid stereotyping-about-Iceland-to-market-to-foreigners is this? Just letting people know: almost everyone here thinks this is an absurd product.

Comment: Re:a great euphemism: "anti-discrimination"... (Score 1) 491

Wow you have really brought into newspeak hook line and sinker.

Anti discrimination is not discrimination. In the same way that good is not double plus bad.

Making it illegal to not hire someone for reasons unrelated to job performance, such as skin color, gender and age is not discriminatory, and applies equally to all people.

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.

Working...