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Comment: WTF, major setback for all of human civilization? (Score 1) 794

by luis_a_espinal (#47965779) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything
From the article:

Aristotelian "science" was a major setback for all of human civilization.

Seriously, what the hell? A major setback from what? From superstition? Did we have anything better before Aristotelian science? That many of Aristotle's predictions turned out to be false (heavier objects fall faster) is not an indictment on his work or body of knowledge. Without Aristotle and the likes of him during their time, we wouldn't have science as we know today.

Seriously, the author might have a point, but that point is purely accidental. He has no clue what he is talking about.

Comment: Re:Like Niven's "At the Core" (Score 1) 80

Astrobiologists have long known that these events are capable of causing mass extinctions by stripping a planet of its ozone layer and exposing the surface to lethal levels of radiation. The likelihood of being hit depends on the density of stars, which is why the center of galaxies are thought to be inhospitable to life.

Like many here, I'm sure, I first considered the possibility that the galactic core was inhospitable to life when I read Larry Niven's 1968 short story "At the Core" (collected with his other "Beowulf Shaeffer" stories in Crashlander ). In his science-fiction tale, Niven had an astronaut visiting the core and witnessing the wash of radiation from so many supernovas placed so close together.

Niven's story, however, ended with the astronaut coming back and warning that this massive wave of radiation would be moving towards Earth at the speed of light. If that were true, and even the edges of galaxies were not safe in the end, then every galaxy would be ultimately hostile to life, not just in their cores. Is this the case, or did Niven get it wrong?

I would find it very hard to believe radiation of such magnitude could be generated from a core and sterilize the galaxy on its way out. But then again, I'm not an Astrophysicist :)

You would also like to read Niven's "Protector" if you haven't, and how sentient life actually evolved in a radiated home world near the core.

Comment: Re:Some Perspective is in Order (Score 1) 275

You are lucky to be able to cope with 5 hours sleep a night. Or you lose a significant amount of the weekend to catching up on sleep.

IMO work should stay in the office (maybe checking emails on the train to/from work) unless there's an outage that needs dealing with. Maybe once or twice a month it's okay if needs require it.

Ideally it is, and there are jobs like that. But other times, there are not. You might have to work on a product whose schedule reacts to external events (new merger, new competitor). And I'm referring to very large projects with development plans in terms of years. So, things occur. Eventually things stabilize, or we jump ship to another job. Rinse and repeat.

Doing 55 hours a week regularly is nothing to be proud of - unless maybe you have significant shares in your employer (as a founder, for example).

Never said I was proud. It's just a matter of fact.

Where do you get the time in all that to do your own hobbies (for a decent amount of time)?

We change hobbies. I used to dance salsa with my wife. No more. So we change hobbies. Indoor hobbies, hobbies with our kids (the things we must do with them.) And so on. Once you have kids, there is no time for hobbies compared to when we were single. And yet, when I was single, I could pursue my hobbies while still working long hours.

As a single person, you can do whatever you want with very little spare time. Which is why I said to the OP not to make his work his passion.

See, 45-50 hours is the norm in software for grunt work. And if its 50-55 when you are trying to climb the tech lead ladder. I could just stick to a true 9-5, but that pretty much guarantees I (or anyone for that matter) will be the Milton guy from Office Space.

In the end, we have priorities and goals and we adjust our hobbies, work hours and passions accordingly. And in a field where continuous technical and professional growth requires going beyond the 9-5, you cannot make work your passion (if you want to maintain your sanity.)

Comment: Conferences =/= training (Score 1) 182

by luis_a_espinal (#47965339) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

I wanted to get your opinion on who should pay the costs associated with attending conferences. In the past, I've covered costs associated with attending some local (in town) conferences, but despite claims to be willing to cover some costs associated with conferences, training, and certifications, my requests have been denied.

Conferences =/= training. At least in general, they are more opportunities to socialize and listen to some speakers. That's it.

So you need to consider very carefully why you want to go to conferences, and why your employer should pay for it.

Very few, bleeding edge companies pay for conferences. Engineering companies OTH, tend to pay for graduate education, and some of them actually pay some type of work-related certifications. But in the end, save up and budget for your own certifications.

If you can't manage to save up for certifications - while working in one of the best paid professional fields of our times - you have much bigger problems to tackle before thinking about certifications. Seriously, save $100 a month and you have $1200 of disposable income a year for your own training. And if you truly cannot save that, then deal with the issues that prevent you saving a meager $100 a month (again, in one of the professions that pay some of the best salaries.)

There used to be a time when companies would pay for their developer's training. 17years ago, my first employer forked over $7K for me to get trained in new software tools. That doesn't happen anymore, and I don't expect we will ever go back to those times.

Those times are gone!

Plan to adapt, save and pay for your own training. There is no other choice nowadays.

Comment: Re:Some Perspective is in Order (Score 2) 275

I forgot to mention. Get a hobby, do shit outside of work and be passionate about it. Be passionate about life, not work! I look back into my early years how "passionate" I was about work (not knowing the difference between career and work.) That wasn't passion, that was energy inefficiency combined with not knowing WTF I was doing (or how to do it better, faster and more economically.)

Comment: Some Perspective is in Order (Score 3, Insightful) 275

Sources - 18 years of experience doing all kind of stuff, Java, C, C++, DevOps, Enterprisey stuff, Embedded, for commercial and defense sectors. 45 years old, married, two little kids and going back to grad school a third time.

Next year will be the start of my 10th year as a software developer. For the last nice years I've worked for a variety of companies, large and small, on projects of varying sizes. During my career, I have noticed that many of the older software developers are burnt out. They would rather do their 9-5, get paid, and go home.

Family does that. Specially kids. I need to be home early to be with them, read to them, help them eat, clean themselves, let them see me (and feel and understand I actually give a shit). When I was single I would work at any hour. Not anymore. That does not mean, however, that my work is strictly 9-5. I wake up at 5AM to get myself ready, log in, do some work, then get ready (and help my wife get my kids ready). Then I log back to work via VPN from 9 to 10, sometimes going to bed till midnight... with just 5 hours to go sleep to start again.

I easily make 55a week just like that. More if I do work on weekends. But 9-5 is the strict window I use to be in the office.

A lot of 9-5'ers are like that, and in addition to all that, we see the same shit repeating itself again and again, from one employer to the next. So what you call "lack of passion" might actually be work-related pragmatism combined with some physical exhaustion and simply the necessary notgiveashitis gene kicking off to save your brain from dying after witnessing the same inane shit rendering itself at work for the millionth time.

The passion is there, is just that we move it out of work and into other things, like family and career (which is distinct from work.)

They have little, if any, passion left, and I constantly wonder how they became this way.

Life. Life will happen and will change your perspective and priorities. YOU. WILL. SEE.

This contradicts my way of thinking; I consider myself to have some level of passion for what I do, and I enjoy going home knowing I made some kind of difference.

But that is the thing. You are projecting. How do you know that other people are not made some kind of difference? They are likely making a difference *somewhere else*.

Also, as we get older we become more efficient with our time. I can do a lot more know with less time than what I could do when I had 10 years of experience (and certainly much more when I started my career.) We burn a lot of hours thinking it is necessary, we do not know how to prioritize or say no to crazy demands. We freak out, and we go into a professional-related frenzy, willing to burn the midnight oil to compensate for a lot of things.

We have a lot of energy when we start. But energy is not necessarily passion. And not all forms of professional passions are constructive. As we get older, family or not, we learn to pick our battles and seek out the lowest hanging fruits, the 20% that make up the 80%. It is then when we begin to be true engineers, not just berserker hackers.

Needless to say, I think I am starting to see the effects of complacency. In my current job,

Unless you are developing the ultimate shit, or have a wonderful work experience with your managers, or are developing your own business, never, ever, be passionate about your job. Be passionate about your career, but not your job. Your job is the conduct by which you make money using your career. Display work ethics, and be willing to go the extra mile when needed. But don't confuse that with passion. That's just work ethics, which we should all display.

I have a development manager who is difficult to deal with on a technical level. He possesses little technical knowledge of basic JavaEE concepts, nor has kept up on any programming in the last 10 years. There is a push from the upper echelon of the business to develop a new, more scalable system, but they don't realize that my manager is the bottleneck. Our team is constantly trying to get him to agree on software industry standards/best practices, but he doesn't get it and often times won't budge.

Life. I told ya.

I'm starting to feel the effects of becoming complacent.

That is not being complacent. That is becoming burned out. That is your mind and body telling you the situation is not conductive to your mental, emotional and professional development.

What is your advice?

GTFO. Get another job that you like. Rinse and repeat as needed. Learn to be effective with your

Comment: Re:Jews (Score 1) 85

by luis_a_espinal (#47945189) Attached to: Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

"Ashkenazi Jews, had more Near East ancestry than anticipated" What!? Off the cuff I'd think they would have 100% Near Eastern ancestry. How much did they anticipate? Apparently a number less than 100.

After living in Eastern Europe for so many centuries as a minority, with continuous gene flows, no, I would expect them to have a significant amount of Northwestern Eurasian genes in them. I mean, just look at them (and I don't mean it in a derogatory manner) and compare them with some other ancient-yet-living Middle Eastern populations (Assyrians, Chaldean, Samaritans, Yemenite Jews, Arabs, and pretty much any other Semitic group that has not migrated out of the Levant, Mesopotamia and/or the Arabic Peninsula.)

OTH, I (we) have to acknowledge that outward, superficial looks do not equate pure genetic profiles.

Comment: Do Not Protect The Incompetent - Darwin FTW (Score 2) 109

by luis_a_espinal (#47945105) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

"The researchers will have little trouble finding new positions in Silicon Valley, where talent is in high demand."

This is a complete falsehood that people need to stop parroting. Research work is VERY difficult to come by. Microsoft was one of the few places actually employing researchers.

So what will they do now? There are absolutely no jobs left in academia, so forget that. They could in theory become programmers, but that field is overcrowded too as people on slashdot regularly point out.

The fact is, if we want to maintain our jobs and standard of living in the USA, we're going to have to band together and force politicians to stop letting immigrants into the country to take our jobs. It really doesn't help matters when certain propagandists keep lying about how "plentiful" high-tech jobs are and how desperately we need more STEM graduates.

If you replace this sentence:

letting immigrants into the country to take our jobs


letting incompetent immigrants into the country to take our jobs, but letting competent immigrants take the jobs of less competent people, citizens or otherwise, and we force our programmers to become more competent (because the quality of work we do here is pretty crappy)

Then I'm on board. I'm not in favor of protectionism to protect the incompetent. And if we were more competent, we wouldn't be so worry about immigrants competing with us.

To be honest, I would like to see our government throttle immigration of engineers into our country as a function of unemployment and other economic indicators (make rate of immigration in field X inversely proportional to unemployment in said field) coupled with actual examinations (classified by years of experience) of migrating professionals, to truly ensure we only get the best junior, mid and senior professionals that we can get. Also, we should do for all regions (LATAM, Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, etc) and not just for China and South Asia.

That I would like to see.

Open-ended migration, or closing immigration just to protect us from competition? No. I don't want to see that. Screw that. Bring the best, from as many parts of the world as possible and let the chips fall where they may. Let the competent rise regardless of origin. And let the incompetent adapt or sink, regardless of origin.

Comment: waltz, foxtrot, tango (Score 1) 188

SpaceX has promise, but Boeing has shown it can deliver.

...eventually, and only after the requisite pork has been spread across a multitude of states and subcontractors to keep the requisite congress-critters happy. :(

Not to knock Boeing's technical prowess, but damn - they do know how to play the game (which explains why they're getting a piece of the contract most likely...)

As a very apt comparison, go back to the days when the F-16 first came out: relatively cheap, by some upstart company (General Dynamics), a revolutionary design, the first 9-G capable fighter, and was an all-around workhorse that could do (within reason) damned near anything you demanded of it. It's still in production today (albeit as a division of Lockheed-Martin), with a design that stands to be around for decades to come. Compare and contrast this with, oh, the F-35/6/whatever that's been nothing but a massive money-sink to date.

Did you just called GD an "upstart" (relative to the time the F-16 was built)? #youarenuts

GD is a century old tech mega-ass conglomerate (think GE of defense) that builds from armored vehicles to fighters to satellites to naval warships to communication systems to artillery, you name it, with branches all over the world.

If GD was an upstart at the time the F16 was being build, I'm batman!

Comment: Re:That's government spending for you.. (Score 1) 188

Boeing - Giant Company - $4.2B for a space vehicle that is still in design. SpaceX - Space Startup - $2.6B for a space vehicle that works and has been flying missions for two years.

Spend your money more wisely.

We are talking about NASA and space exploration, not implementing and deploying ER software systems. Re-using existing designs is a very acceptable approach, but for the type of R&D and work that this involves, NASA (and we) need to also explore new designs. The time to do is now.

I think *our* money is well spent by funding both proposals and to put them into competition. The point is not just to have someone deliver something, but to do R&D and extend our body of engineering knowledge. Our money *would not* have been spent well if only one player had been picked to the exclusion of the other.

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas