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Comment: Re:coding standards (Score 2) 664

by gstovall (#46308923) Attached to: Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration

:) Which is why we had to spend the first 6 months after hiring any new grad, retraining them in development techniques that actually worked in our embedded near-real-time, real-world sitations. I still have no idea why colleges convince their graduates that they actually know anything. College is an opportunity to learn how to think and how to learn, not to learn what's needed to be an instant star. We all have to learn constantly our whole lives to stay on top of the technology.

That's not to say I've not met a couple that were instant stars upon graduation...however, they were usually the ones who had done several coop terms with us learning the ropes already.

Comment: Re:Not actually a bad idea. (Score 1) 368

by gstovall (#43765849) Attached to: Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber

:) The senior architect on the product I work on (multimedia communications system) is a C.S. grad, and he is truly brilliant.

I work with some really great people, and quite a number of them have C.S. degrees.

The work we do is multi-processing, multi-threaded, multi-server, across multiple different operating systems, and I have the privilege of working with a group of people with varying educational backgrounds, but all of them are extremely competent, and all of them, C.S. or not, know their way around creating and using shared libraries on Windows and Linux. It's kind of strange to say just those two now. I remember when we used to routinely do work on AIX, HPUX, Solaris...

The point I was trying to make was that a C.S. degree does not make someone a successful software designer -- skill, talent, and an eagerness to learn do.

Comment: Re:Not actually a bad idea. (Score 2) 368

by gstovall (#43761923) Attached to: Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber

Sorry to reply to my own post.

I personally don't think holding a degree should even be the primary criteris...

Am friends with a couple of high ranking software architects at a major (world-wide) package delivery service. One of them has a degree in physics. The other worked his way up from a manual labor job in the shipping department -- he showed a willingness to self teach on computers so he could fix a problem in the shipping department process, and his aptitude, inclination, and hard work propelled him along to his position of authority/influence.

Comment: Re:America has become pussy nation (Score 1) 1078

by gstovall (#43613157) Attached to: Florida Teen Expelled and Arrested For Science Experiment

Understood. I was kind of admiring of their guts at the time, but I wouldn't have done it for fear of reprimand. And they did get scolded for that incident.

The point was, it was a stupid stunt that shouldn't have been done, but they did not end up being labeled criminals for it.

Comment: Re:America has become pussy nation (Score 1) 1078

by gstovall (#43609521) Attached to: Florida Teen Expelled and Arrested For Science Experiment

And when my father was 15, he worked in a rock quarry -- he was the dynamite setter. Would drill the holes, use his own key to the dynamite shed to go fetch the dynamite, and set the charges. The master would be the one responsible for checking his work and actually initiating the blaster, but my dad did all the manual work.

There are people now that would throw an absolute hissy fit over a 15 year old being allowed to handle explosives. :) My dad learned very quickly not to wipe his forehead after handling dynamite. The leaking nitroglycerin gives massive headaches when absorbed through the skin.

Comment: Re:America has become pussy nation (Score 5, Interesting) 1078

by gstovall (#43609297) Attached to: Florida Teen Expelled and Arrested For Science Experiment

Shoot. When I was in high school (in the very early 1980s), we made nitroglycerin and nitrogen triiodide as part of chemistry class.

The instructions for making nitroglycerin were in the high school chemistry text book, and it even helpfully explained how to improve the rate of the reaction for faster production.

The guys making nitrogen triiodide were doing so in the enclosed vent chamber, and they sternly warned the instructor not to throw open the door. He failed to heed their warnings, and it exploded and burned off his hair and eyebrows. There were no lectures or discipline -- he acknowledged that they had carefully warned him not to be careless.

What they did with the liquid suspension was rather creative. :) It's basically inert while in suspension, but very unstable when dry. So they took eye droppers and wandered the halls of the school, randomly dropping drops of it on the floor. It dried in time for classes to swich. Lots of little firecracker bangs as people walked down the hallway and activated the dried samples on the floor. :)

As a junior high student (and high school student), I used to go around the school demonstrating potassium permanganate and glycerin for various classes. It was a great way to get young minds interested in the sciences and fascinated with chemistry.

Now, all 4 of my children have had high school chemistry (youngest is just now finishing it up). There is NO experimentation or lab work -- they are not allowed to touch any chemicals. The teacher is not even allowed to do the potassium permanganate experiment -- it is deemed too likely to cause students to become terrorists. I'm thoroughly disgusted by what has happened to the educational process in this country.

My oldest is graduating college in 2 days. Over the last 4 years, he has brought home horror stories about the rigid mindset that he has experienced in the classroom. Nearly all the college instructors (and this is at a large public university) absolutely insist that their perspective be parroted back -- there is zero tolerance for discussion and debate. People with differing beliefs and perceptions are publicly ridiculed and humiliated.

When I was in college at Texas A&M, my philosophy prof was the faculty advisor for the Gay and Lesbian student association. Despite the fact that he and I shared very few common positions on the topics discussed and written about in class, we got along well. He commended me at the end of the class, saying that I had presented my positions with clarity and precision, and I achieved a high A in his class. Apparently, that experience would be rare now.

Comment: Re:Actually Measured (Score 1) 409

by gstovall (#41963767) Attached to: Geomapping Racism With Twitter

Actually, this was in SE Dallas -- Jim Miller south of I-30. The neighborhood was a formerly all-white one that was, at the time I moved in, pretty racially balanced by number. Lots of white senior citizens, and as they left or died, mostly younger black families moving in.

I had absolutely no idea there was that much hate existing anywhere outside of Los Angeles or Africa -- we were stunned. I seriously, even after all these years, do not understand how such hate was generated. There is no way those young teens had any personal experience with racism -- they had to learn it from their elders. I knew from the newspapers that Dallas had a race relations problem, but I just did not comprehend it still existed.

Comment: Re:Actually Measured (Score 1) 409

by gstovall (#41963607) Attached to: Geomapping Racism With Twitter

I absolutely agree that racism sucks, regardless of which group is on the giving and receiving end.

I know there is white racism -- I know live near where a KKK group has its headquarters. But this formerly fearsome group now has about 50 members spread across 7 states, according to a newspaper expose of the group. I remember, back when a lived in Texas, a black man being chained behind a pickup truck and being dragged to death. That was awful racism.

Other than those isolated things I've read about, I literally have not SEEN white on black racism acted out. What are the things that are commonly experienced by non-whites in the USA? When in Dallas, I heard about constant struggles between black, latino, and asian gangs, but I was never sure how much of that was racism and how much was gang dominance. As a manager in a hi-tech industry, we went through lots of training to ensure that there were no racial biases in our hiring, and we had a very diverse workforce. So, perhaps being educated is some kind of insulation from racism, or experiencing racism, but I truly have never personally seen racsm except as I previously described.

Seriously, I am looking for details on other's experiences and perspectives.

BTW, I founds your first two paragraphs rather odd..."blacks are racist against whites tool"? More explanation? I understand it's meant to be offensive, but I didn't really grok it, sorry...

Comment: Re:Actually Measured (Score 1) 409

by gstovall (#41951725) Attached to: Geomapping Racism With Twitter

Perhaps not relevant to you, but it was certainly relevant to me and my wife.

Warning: anecdote.

In 1988 my wife and I bought a house in a "racially mixed" neighborhood. We (anglo saxons) were excited by the possibilities of building friendships and learning about the black culture. Instead we:
1) Were shunned by (all of) our black neighbors, who absolutely refused to say one word to us in the 7 years we lived there, despite our attempts to build relationships.
2) When we went to local stores, we were treated badly by employees. For example, at Walgreens, if we were in line at the checkout counter, the (black) clerk would take people from behind us and check them out, and refuse to serve us until there was no other black people in line.
3) I would always have to mow facing the street, because people passing by would attempt to hit me with beer bottles
4) Several times gangs of youth would stand in my yard and threaten me and curse me out, merely because I was white, and despite the fact that I had tutored several of them in subjects they needed help with in school
5) On the other side, one couple (he was an exec in the Dallas School District and she was a Dallas city councilwoman) were good friends, and we taught their children in Sunday School and had had them over to our house several times. But they were the only ones.

We eventually gave up and moved to a neighborhood that was not so threatening, but the experience left a bad impression with us for a number of years. I really wish that time had turned out differently -- it seemed like, except for the one couple, all we encountered was blind, unreasoning hate.

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