Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:the 10x programmer is no more toxic than averag (Score 1) 205

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.

Comment: Re:Measurements (Score 1) 205

by tnk1 (#49620267) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

There are few more useful tools than a code review. After all, another opinion is useful in just about any field and a team needs to make sure they keep up with how other people are doing things in their modules. You find a lot of things to fix when someone is looking over your shoulder.

However, people can be dickish about how they do them. I'm not a big fan of going through elaborate rituals to make people feel better about their code, but at the same time, when you're a dick to someone in a CR, you're making them feel defensive when you want them to be more open to accept constructive criticism.

If people are being defensive about criticism of their code, then they need to change that, but let's not pretend that it's all on the person whose code is being reviewed.

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 35

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:government science != more money gravy train (Score 1) 285

If you're a climate scientist and you want to convince me, stop with the doom scenarios and start getting headlines of things more reasonable. I'm sick of hearing that because of global warming, I'm going to be dead in 5 years, just to read the exact same headline 5 years later.

You are obviously not paying attention to what actual scientists have actually said if you think they said you'd be dead in 5 years. Rather than listen to hyperbole why don't you use some of the critical thinking skills you should have learned in academia to analyze the situation.

Comment: Re:The thankless job of solving nonexisting proble (Score 1) 285

Don't expect much out of mi. I tangled with him about his request to list 2 or 3 successful predictions back in March and gave him a link to this paper which compares IPCC AR3 & AR4 predictions for temperature and sea level rise to current (2011) observations.

Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011 (Rahmstorf, Foster, Cazenave, Environmental Research Letters 2012)

He wouldn't accept it apparently because it wasn't formatted exactly as he requested. Apparently he won't take yes for an answer.

Comment: Re: Seriously ? What a non story (Score 1) 269

by tnk1 (#49617461) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Actually, yes, this is something like the impulse drive.

"Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual indicates that the impulse engines are nuclear fusion engines where the plasma from the fusion reactor powers a massive magnetic coil to propel the ship. It is a form of magnetohydrodynamic or magnetoplasmadynamic thruster. "

If the Trek impulse drive uses reaction mass, it is very, very efficient at it.

The drive being suggested here does not use reaction mass at all, it pushes against space itself, which shouldn't be possible as we understand it. It's a very big deal, because it means we don't need to carry around the stuff we push against, we can carry around a compact (relatively) power source, like a nuclear reactor, and it can just directly apply power to pushing the ship through space.

Here you're going from the concept of a lowest energy state vacuum where there is nothing to push against, to space almost being something you can just put a propeller out the back and turn it like you do in the water. A very special propeller that looks nothing like a propeller, mind you, but the concept is similar in that it is orders of magnitude easier to engineer a serious deep space ship without having to effectively carry onboard and lay your road behind you.

Comment: Re:Just Like the "Liberal Media" (Score 2) 285

Growing up in the 80s, all I heard was how liberal the media was and how we had to fight against it. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it's clear that the phrase "liberal media" was a conservative talking point that they repeated ad infinitum until people stopped questioning it and just assumed it was true.

The same thing is happening now with claiming scientists are politically or monetarily motivated (the conservative machine hasn't settled on which script to stick with).

Look, I'm a scientist. I know scientists. I know scientists at NOAA, NCAR, NIST, the Labs, in academia, in industry, at biotechs, at agri-science companies, at space exploration companies, and at oil and gas companies. I know conservative scientists, liberal scientists, agnostic scientists, religious scientists, and hedonistic scientists.

You know what motivates scientists? Science. And to a lesser extent, their ego. If someone doesn't love science, there's no way they can cut it as a scientist. There are no political or monetary rewards available to scientists in the same way they're available to lawyers and lobbyists.

Science if hard work for little pay and possibly some recognition. Unfortunately, the conservative noise machine is slowly building a narrative that scientists are all politically and monetarily motivated. The public doesn't really know any better and will believe this to be true if they hear it enough.

This attempt to paint scientists as political actors is pure bullshit and demeans the hard work and great sacrifices working scientists make every day.


Victor Venema on his blog Variable Variability has a post on the House Science Committee's gutting of NASA's earth sciences programs. In it he wrote this (my emphasis):

Science is a free market of ideas. Like the free market uses distributed information on how to efficiently organize an economy, science is highly distributed and cannot be controlled from the top. Every researcher is a small entrepreneur, trying to search for problems that are interesting and solvable. Science is organized in small groups. If your group does not function, you'd better get out before your reputation and publication record suffer. Multiple such groups are at one university or research institute. In one country you will find many universities and institutes. All these groups in many countries are all competing and collaborating with each other. Competing for the best ideas, because it is fun and get more possibilities to do research. The currency is reputation.

Most scientists don't care that much about money. It is just a means to the end of doing more and better science. If they really cared about money that much they'd be working in finance or something like that. Assuming most scientists are in it for the money probably says more about your motivations being projected on them than anything else.

Comment: Re:Warp drive? (Score 1) 269

by Rei (#49616883) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Things like "cold fusion" and this could actually be useful if not managed by irresponsible teams seeking to make headlines for themselves. It can be important to learn when there's things that can throw your measurements off that weren't immediately apparent. You don't need headlines to get the necessary followup; researchers in the field read the peer-reviewed literature and most definitely will take interest in such unexpected results.

Comment: Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 167

by Rei (#49614897) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Re. Treebeard, see above.

So are we to interpret all statements of extreme facts in Tolkien to be mere exaggerations?

Even if we go with your interpretation, if Gandalf possesses the art to make all of those things, why doesn't he?

Really? The defection of the member of the White Council isn't of concern to the elves?

Okay, so we now need to interpret Tolkien as not only exaggerations, but also full of marketing speech?

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