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Comment: Wait what? (Score 4, Informative) 248

by lq_x_pl (#47783901) Attached to: US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process
"... that reading the material "would not assist the Court in deciding the pending Motion to Dismiss (PDF) because it is not an appropriate means to test the scope of the assertion of the State Secrets privilege.""
Actually, that is precisely what letting the judge read the criteria would do.
I suspect that the real problem is that the criteria used for being added to the No-Fly list are overbroad and arbitrary. The secret here is that the No-Fly list is a farce.

Comment: Re:iTunes U (Score 3, Interesting) 82

by lq_x_pl (#47496895) Attached to: High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online
I don't typically feed the trolls, but I'll bite on this one.
Don't like itunes? Fine. Don't use it.

Material from Khan Academy and MIT are freely accessible on youtube.
MIT's Open Courseware got me through DiffEQ (professor was a researcher who had the burden of a single class to justify his presence on campus...).
If there are concerns about vulnerabilities in Flash, I came across multiple helpful documents in plain ol' HTML while I was going to school. A motivated student can find what they need. An idiot will complain about resources that are essentially available at no extra cost to them.

Comment: Generous effort but... (Score 2) 376

by lq_x_pl (#47337537) Attached to: Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities
[TLDR: Bravo Google, but I think we're attacking the issue on the wrong side]
offering a free pass into code school for underrepresented groups is touching the problem too late.
If Google were genuinely interested in generating a more diverse, technically sharp population, they'd be looking at elementary, middle, and high schools (notice the AND). Education is an iterative process, adults that love to code and code well are either savants, or have had a decent education growing up. This doesn't mean we need One Laptop Per Kindergartener, but it would help if there were learning materials and dedicated staff in elementary schools. It would help if there were rudimentary computer labs in middle schools that did more than surf a subset of the internet. It would help if math was as celebrated as sports in high schools.
Many of the people who will be taking these coding classes will not have had the background in math that strengthens critical, algorithmic thinking - it doesn't mean they can't develop that thinking, but so long as their background is limited to the 'last step' (learning to code), they will continue to be hired on as quota-fillers.
I do applaud Google for doing something. Giving these underrepresented groups easier access to some kind of technical education should have a positive effect on the observed hiring-disparities. However, addressing the issue at this 'last step' level will not be nearly as powerful as improving the limping-machine that is our public education system.
I do think we are overly concerned with the racial make-up of [company x]. Most companies are going to hire the candidate that will help them make the most money. The lack of diversity in [company x] is likely reflecting the lack of a skillset in population subsets y and z. The lack of diversity is a symptom, not the problem. It's just easier to point an angry finger at [big faceless corporation] than at our own communities.

Comment: Alternate Headline: (Score 1) 255

Coupon-seekers Troll Tech Community.

Either most of the participants lived in nursing homes, or they didn't respond seriously. I'm leaning towards the latter since, "27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect." Apple's marketing department has made sure that even the most vapid of us crave "more gigabytes on our phones."

Comment: scope problem (Score 1) 491

by lq_x_pl (#46345337) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?
We need to more carefully scope how we define "STEM".
Some studies lump social sciences under STEM, where others do not.
I would not be surprised if companies were having a difficult time finding enough qualified engineers and programmers - but I would have a difficult time believing companies were having a difficult time finding qualified Sociology, Psychology, or Biology majors. The Biological Sciences and Psychology buildings at my school were teeming with students, while the CompSci and Engineering buildings were generally much less populated.

Comment: Conflating introvert with 'loner' (Score 2) 158

by lq_x_pl (#46250775) Attached to: Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise
I work as an engineer, and interact with many other engineers. Few of them completely fulfill the "awkward technophile" stereotype. Many of us do prefer small gatherings, finding large social gatherings exhausting. It may not be as exciting a meat-market, but it is still possible to find someone to marry at small gatherings.

Comment: Slashdot (Score 1) 731

by lq_x_pl (#45993073) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?
Asked me nicely to display ads.
/. was whitelisted.
/. will remain whitelisted until one of their adds follows me around the screen or plays some annoying sound.

I understand that site content has to be paid for somehow, and so long as the ads that back it up don't
  1. Irritate me
  2. Infect my workstation with malware

I have no problem letting the ads through. There are less than 10 sites whitelisted in adblocker. Everyone gets ghostery'd.

Remember: Silly is a state of Mind, Stupid is a way of Life. -- Dave Butler