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Comment: Re:Make them drink it ... (Score 1) 254

Toluene, found in pine oil: []
Xylene, found in wood tar: []

The pine trees in my back yard probably put as much of these in the creek as they detected in the paper.

You've convinced me.

We should just let the oil industry do whatever they want, because everything's toxic so what's the harm in a few hundred people getting wealthy beyond dreams of avarice before we all die?

And we're not talking about "parts per trillion" here. We're talking about concentrations up to 200 times the amount considered safe by the FDA.

Comment: Help me out here! (Score 0) 196

by Okian Warrior (#49622875) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

There is enough similarity between programming languages that there really is no point in learning any more than what you need. If you find yourself in a position where you need to learn a new one, as long as you have a pretty broad background it usually only will take a couple of days to get going and a couple of weeks to get really good.

But but... I was just scolded a couple of days ago about the differences between languages!

I was told that different languages will force me into different modes of thought!!!

I'm so confudded, I don't know *what* to think any more.

Comment: Re:Make them drink it ... (Score 1) 254

Have you seen the nasty things salt does to metals and plants? Yet you happily eat that every day.

Because people have eaten salt for millennia without negative effects.

How long have people been drinking benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene? Not to mention the substances that we don't know about that are in fracking fluid because they're "trade secrets".

Comment: The question ain't "is it on the rise" (Score 1) 196

by Opportunist (#49622159) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

The question is "is it here to stay".

Take Ruby on Rails. Was the craze not even half a decade ago. Everyone was on Rails. Too bad they led to the chasm and nobody bothered to build a bridge over it.

So learning a language because some startups are crazy about it isn't worth it. But what is? How can you tell whether a language "gets big" or is a tempest in a teapot?

Easy. It ain't the language, it's the people using it. It's the movers and shakers of an industry that decide what will grow and what will perish. If Bruce Schneier started writing his code snippets in Splfurt (I sincerely hope there is no such language, I just made that word up) and if people from Metasploit pick it up and code their stuff in Splfurt, Splfurt is the new big thing in IT security and every framework, scanner, tool and whatnot will have to have Splfurt plugin support and new exploit PoCs will come written in Splfurt.

It's not the language. It's the people using it.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 132

by LWATCDR (#49621843) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

"The difference between WW2 codebreakers and today's NSA and what have you being, of course, that WW2 codebreakers were used against to crack the communications of a defined enemy. So yes, it's perfectly reasonable to object to a practice that considers literally everybody, civilian or not, foreigner or not, to be an enemy."
Actually the spying was on all nations. It was only after the US started Lend-Lease that the spying was restricted by the US. The USSR spied on the US all through the war even when they where our "friend". Frankly that action is why the spying on "friendly" countries became common. For example during the Yom Kippur war the US spied on Israel to and made them live up the the cease fire.
The US was spying on Germany and German companies long before 12/7/41. They spying on Japan also predates the war.
Sure work to put laws into place and make them good ones to protect US citizens but also understand that every nation will spy to the best of it's abilities. If you thin Nations in Asia, the EU, South America, or Africa are any different than you are simply fooling yourself.

Comment: Re:No one wants this (Score 1) 349

by tnk1 (#49621329) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

True, but that's almost by definition. A skilled coder is one who does those things.

However, even a skilled coder has limits. I'm constantly aware of scenarios where the deadlines shift, or more frequently, the amount of time that the coders have is smaller than expected, because they are called in to do support work on a previous version. You still have the same deadline, but someone just took up a significant portion of your development time doing something unrelated.

In those scenarios, even a highly skilled individual needs actual time to get things done. And I find that the top level coders are the ones most likely to be brought in to fix things, unless it can be helped.

Comment: I call BS. (Score 2) 132

by ledow (#49621179) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

I can't even get a device - of any power - to recognise my voice beyond the very slow, pronounced basics and I have to train myself to it (not the other way around).

Would love to know how the NSA have access to technology that the top voice-recognition specialists and software can't manage, let alone dealing with noisy backgrounds, masked keywords, variety of languages, etc.

"Acres of datacentres" don't help for the simplest of obscurations in the phone call and guess who has a reason to mask their intentions behind innocent words? Terrorists.

Comment: Why? (Score 0, Troll) 132

by LWATCDR (#49621143) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

" I am torn between admiration of the technical brilliance of building software like this and horror as to how it is being used."
Why? Over most of history spying has saved lives more than taken them.
I find it so odd that people on Slashdot sing the praises of the "Codebreakers" of WWII but are shocked and freaked out that they are still around today.
BTW the US and Britian both spied and used code breaking before the war started so... Yes they were spying in peacetime!!!!! Shocking.

Comment: Re:the 10x programmer is no more toxic than averag (Score 2) 349

by tnk1 (#49620765) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

It's probably less about sour grapes than it is about the image of a certain kind of coder which makes for a good story.

People like their assholes. They don't like being too close to them, but they like assholes who cut through the "bullshit" and make things happen.

News outlets tend to pick up on those stories and people who are assholes tend to encourage that, because some star coders are just assholes and like the idea that their particular dysfunction makes them seem hip and employable, as opposed to being relegated to a closet somewhere.

The reality is that there are excellent coders of both the nice and the asshole variety. It's just that you don't hear about the nice ones because they're not grandstanders. The assholes tend to be.

If given a limited budget and resources, I'd probably pick the star coder, even if an asshole. I think the real issue with a 10x coder, as opposed to a team of average coders is the overhead of managing a team of coders. If you have one guy, he has one vision and it doesn't have to be transmitted to and adopted by the team. This is useful for certain projects.

For other projects, where you are not going to be able to get any one person to be able to finish it, then team dynamics become much more important, and it becomes much more important to not have assholes on your team. If you're forced to have an asshole star developer, then you need to find people who will execute that vision without complaint. At that point, you're going to tend toward worker bees instead of highly skilled individuals because you don't want a religious war between the the two assholes writing your code.

However, if you lose the assholes, you're much more likely to find a team of above average coders because they can actually work together without trying to backstab or snipe at each other constantly. You don't need to limit yourself to coders who are just puppets of the asshole senior coder.

Don't get me wrong, puppet coding can certainly work, but is probably something you only really want in a short term startup where you can have that vision, without having to deal with larger teams.

Dynamically binding, you realize the magic. Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.