Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:The Problem is NOT in your ability .... (Score 1) 418

by nimblebrain (#41566533) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain?

I've seen that particular policy, and I've got to say, I don't really understand how a company can employ it for great lengths of time and see it working.

If you induct a bunch of new, young hires at the same time - which seems to be common - they bond with each other. Then they hang out in the company for a while - maybe even a year.

Then they realize that raises aren't forthcoming. Sometimes, the bigger trigger is one of the group finds something elsewhere for higher pay just with that tiny bit of experience under their belts, and that emboldens the rest.

I saw a company finally wake up to that, and they changed their policy to allow hiring of senior people... then the complaint was that they couldn't find good senior people any more, a complaint reflected across their particular industry.

With software, I guess that those "cost centers" actually take a little while for their effects to kick in, because they can coast on the work of the people who are gone just because of the way release cycles work. That's a barrier to corporate learning.

Comment: Science has narrowed a bit (Score 1) 479

by nimblebrain (#30187048) Attached to: Has Sci-Fi Run Out of Steam?

Looking at some of the science fiction of the pre-70s, it was full of possibility. Things could shrink and grow, turkeys could be formed in matter dispensers, radiation might give you powers, you could 'reverse your polarity' and become antimatter and, instead of just exploding like we know antimatter would now, we could throw lightning bolts (okay, I'll fess up - I got the Space:1999 Megaset for my birthday).

Besides all the "expired" science possibilities, there's a real gamble to be made trying to second-guess what physics will discover. We're finding all sorts of nifty quantum effects in quantum computing, but we are hardly much closer to understanding what it "really means" than Niehls Bohr. Care to guess whether MOND will actually come out on top? What the LHC will find in a year or two?

It seems like we're at the point where:

  • Somebody's already patented it, feasible or not
  • Somebody's already working on it, if it's technically feasible
  • Somebody's already made it, but it's really expensive
  • We know it will get there, it will just take a lot of time and money
  • We're already jaded of hearing about it, if it's been going on for 30 years
  • The idea's at a high risk of being based on faulty physics
  • It would be great if battery power were portable and infinite, but right now, it's a pain
  • Apart from immortality, I don't think I have tons on my personal wish list right now that isn't merely a matter of money or waiting.

    Does anyone still have a long "wouldn't it be cool if" list that's feasible given current science and human nature?

Comment: The only "hybrid" part this approach has... (Score 2, Informative) 554

by nimblebrain (#26715149) Attached to: Human-Animal Hybrids Fail

It has been known for a while now that enucleating an egg (i.e. removing its nucleus) and putting the nucleus of an adult cell inside it seems to do somewhat of a reset. This makes a little sense, since mammalian eggs have chemicals and chemical gradients necessary to uncover the right genes to start off the process.

Given how hard it is to get eggs from humans, other animals would be ideal.

The thing is, the nuclei of these eggs are removed. There is one thing of the animals' genes that would remain, though: the mitochondria. That's why you can trace just your maternal line through your mitochondria - they are provided almost exclusively by the egg. If this ever gets used for actual cloning, imagine how this could screw up a deep ancestry project!

Mitochondria do pretty much the same job and have done so for aeons. They do mutate faster, though, so there *might* be other jobs that they are doing for us that are slightly incompatible. On the whole, though, probably not. In the end, chances are that the only fantasy "hybrid" part of this is human cells with animal batteries.

There's a lot of basic research left to do to see how cow and rabbit eggs (especially the ever-copious rabbit eggs!) differ from human eggs in terms of the chemical environment they provide, but once we figure that out, we will have another avenue of making stem cell equivalents, valuable for all sorts of things including spinal cord repair.

Cloning is a little different than therapeutic stem cell application would be, however. You cannot just throw cloned 'stem' cells into a body - you will get a teratoma: a disgusting ball of flesh with all the body tissues in it. You need to coax it down other development paths first. You can wait for a cloned embryo to develop and take out that particular kind of tissue, which is where some ethical considerations come in, or you can apply hormones and other chemicals to do the job.

Comment: Re:When I was breaking in (Score 1) 726

by nimblebrain (#26438805) Attached to: More Than Coding Errors Behind Bad Software

There are those who write just to be "cool". There are even those who know a lot and like to exercise it but find correctness "boring". Avoid those at all costs. If a "genius" can't be bothered cleaning up their own messes, then they really don't know their subject matter as well as they say they do, and you will have to rewrite those fancy pieces of crap on your own dime.

That's not to say that there aren't geniuses that listen to needs and clean up their own messes around, but they are more rare than the lazy self-professed pseudo-geniuses you sound like you have already had the misfortune of meeting.

There isn't really one overarching "programming IQ". There's programming, empathy (why should I put in that feature? for idiots!?), debugging, testing, designing, analyzing. Someone can be a savant in one area and an untrainable mess in another.

See also: Dunning-Kruger Effect :)

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.

Working...