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Comment Re:16:9? (Score 1) 178

I'm not the only one who does this?! It's great when I have a document to read while making a presentation (among other potential task combinations).

OT side-note: I like to use my background to cycle through family photographs. The problem with our setup is that it makes it hard to do that (at least on Windows). If you set "Picture position" to tile, you can do it. But depending on how you set up your screen alignment, you have to mess with the way the pictures are arranged in the background. For instance, I have the screens bottom-aligned, so my background photo on the portrait is split so that the top X pixels of the photo are on the bottom-right of the background jpg.

Comment Re:Scouting and shyness (Score 1) 307

I think my figure of speech is a little off. Almost sounds like I'm extracting escargot or mussels. There's nothing wrong with staying in your shell. But it can deprive your team/class members of valuable insight that they might not even know they needed. The goal isn't to change kids into extroverts, but to make them feel OK to communicate with others when it might be helpful.

With this particular kid, it was more about getting the other kids to be quiet long enough to give the Tiger a chance to speak. Sometimes a simple verbal cue like "what do you think?" is all it takes, but sometimes you have to spend time laying the groundwork: building an open environment, making sure you are communicating at their level, sometimes finding a kid with similar interest and pairing them up for a while.

I'm no expert, both of my kids are extroverts. But my mom was an educator, and I learned a lot from how she would deal with kids in group settings. It's far too easy for a lazy leader to only engage with the people constantly opening their mouths. But they can miss out on a lot of valuable insight if they ignore the quieter members of their group.

One last thing, and it's a little off topic, but you really got me thinking. When you say "it might be fun," you are meaning that even though you are not in the mood to talk, you still don't mind being talked to. Am I reading that right? That is really interesting. I had no idea that it didn't have to be a two-way street. I know for me, if I'm not in the mood to jibber-jabber, I'm not in the mood for somebody else's jibber-jabber either. It never even occurred to me that there would be people who like being talked to without any desire to say anything back. That's a real mind-opener. But it makes sense, right? I mean there are people who just like to talk, and don't care to listen. So it would make sense that there are people who honestly just like to listen. Man... Thanks for that!!

Comment Scouting and shyness (Score 1) 307

As an assistant cubmaster, I get to work with a lot of kids. And sometimes it really is hard to pull the introverts out of their shells. You know, the kids who are only at the meetings because their dads want them to be a scout. Here's the thing with those kids, when they finally do say something, they can say something that cuts to the heart of the conversation. Sometimes I think they're the only ones who really know how to listen.

Going over scout oath/law. What is brave? All the extroverts had typical boy answers: being really strong, not being afraid of anything, that sort of thing. I asked the new shy Tiger Cub. His answer was "Do something good, even if you're not sure that you can do it." I almost wanted to cry. Same kid gave the only good explanation of "mentally awake."

Here's the important thing. You need people like that on every team. My old boss was one of those guys. He'd sit in the corner of the meeting room. And just as everybody was arguing about tangential technical issues, he would pipe up. By this time we all knew to STFU and listen to him. Without fail he would have some essential distillation of the problem. Some nugget of insight that allowed everybody to refocus on the actual problem, instead of our individual stakes.

We need to cultivate these kids, allow them to be still and quiet and ponder. But we also need to encourage them to participate in group activities. Most importantly, they need an open, safe climate in the classroom where they feel like they can express themselves when the time comes.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 1) 618

Speaking as a registered PE, I can tell you that you couldn't pay me any amount of money just to stamp a drawing. It doesn't work that way. If I wasn't at least tangentially associated with every aspect of the design of the thing, my stamp is staying in its pouch. I have told the president of my company to take a flying leap on one occasion because of this. And you know what his response was? He apologized for not realizing that wasn't how PE stamps work.

That being said, I don't think you have to be a registered PE to design automobiles.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 2) 618

As an American who has worked for two different large corporations, I am surprised by this sentiment. I once got an order to do something I felt was unethical from my dotted-line boss. I sent a note to my boss immediately and his response was, literally, "If you do that, I will fire you." There was no pressure to do anything that even remotely seemed like a Bad Thing (TM).

Now that I'm a little higher up the food chain, I get the occasional request for my team to do stuff that's not in keeping with ethical or safety standards. I tell them the reasoning behind my refusal to comply, and the most frequent response is "Oh gee! I hadn't even looked at it like that, I'm sorry for putting you in the position to have to tell me no." Then we either find a safe or ethical way to do it, or we don't do it. Period.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 4, Insightful) 618

That's ridiculous. There are valid reasons for the code to have different operating modes. It is not inherently unethical to make software behave differently under different operating conditions.

Think about it, VW sells cars in multiple jurisdictions. They need to have different emission mitigation regimes for each of them. It's possible that the flags for the operating conditions just got screwed up. If they use the same shop/lab model to pass EU and USA testing, there must be a switch in there for "Detected_testing_regime == EPA." And they might have intended to turn on the same controls when "vehicle_sold_to == USA," but the guy responsible for that code screwed something up.

Even if it were an intentional deception, it would be trivial for management to divvy up the workload such that the individual programmers had no idea. "Jan, we need you to make a module that detects the following operating conditions and pass this parameter to the emissions controller, mm-kay?" or "Hans, when you see the disable_emission_control_for_emergency_use, make sure that the car switches to the high_power curve."

We really don't know. Until the results of the investigation are made public, and they are found guilty of wrong-doing, they are innocent. Is the legal equivalent of "assume good faith."

Comment Re:Companies founded by socialists... (Score 1) 411

Nice trolling. I love it when people call the Nazi's socialists, just because it was in the name of their political party. North Korea is nominally a democratic republic, but you don't hear people calling it a democracy. Nazis were pretty anti-socialism; they were responsible for the dissolution of several socialists parties and labor organizations in the 30s. Just ask any of the socialist dissidents that they rounded up. Oh wait, you can't because they were all murdered.

Comment Re:Shit. (Score 1) 411

Sounds to me like we're doing it wrong. I would think measuring pollution per distance makes a hell of a lot more sense. I wonder how that pans out. If I am putting out less emissions per gallon but using more gallons per mile, my total emissions for the trip it could go either way. I wonder if this isn't anything nefarious, but rather VW made a decision that the poor stupid Americans just didn't know WTF they were asking for. Has anybody seen the raw data? Is it possible that the changes actually give enough fuel efficiency gain that the total emissions per mile are actually better by "cheating"?

Comment Re:Don't take yours in. (Score 1) 411

Does anybody actually "like" those things? I've never understood either.

Every hotel I stayed at in Azerbaijan had dual-flow toilets with two different flush buttons. Why are they almost unheard of in the states? My problem with low-flow toilets is that if you don't flush about halfway through doing our business, the damn thing clogs up. So you don't really end up saving water. With the industrial-strength ones in public restrooms (that make that satisfying whooshing sound), you could probably flush a small rhinoceros down there without so much as a hiccup.

Same problem with low-flow shower heads. If my wife takes three times as long to rinse out her hair, but the flow rate is only reduced by half, I'm still using more water. I know some people who really like to conserve will turn off the water when they lather up. That's dedication right there. I tried for like a week to do that. It's just not for me.

Comment Re:I wonder if they're going to use this as "proof (Score 1) 657

Ah... so it wasn't a bomb but a trigger. Looking at it from your perspective, I guess we should be glad they didn't call in Jack Bauer to torture the kid to find out where he hid the explosives. So in that case, Irving ISD and police did an outstanding job practicing restraint and common sense. Well done!!

Comment Re:I wonder if they're going to use this as "proof (Score 1) 657

The point is that, statistically speaking, there has been no discernible uptick in killings of police. 2014 was double 2013, but 2013 was the lowest EVER on record. In fact, depending on whose statistics you use, 2014 was lower than 2012. There is no war on cops.

The opposite is also true. There is no war on black people either. At least not in the sense of an increase of killings of unarmed black men. On the other hand, society hasn't systematically disadvantaged police for centuries and written drug laws that specifically target them for disproportionately higher minimum jail sentences. So it's kind of hard to compare.

Comment So now Republicans have to be against him (Score 1) 657

Granted, the odds of one of the R candidates supporting somebody named Ahmed Mohamed were already slim. Now that Obama has come out supporting this kid, I will be shocked if any of them to come to his defense. Just look at the comments on a GOP news site. This isn't even the most vitriolic one out there. Mind you, these are the same people who rant when "Obama's" TSA takes their favorite pocket knife, calling it government overreach and unamerican. And here they are saying things like "the dumb kid deserved it," or "maybe he was just testing our defenses for a real bomb." Really?! WTF!? No wonder everybody thinks we're a bunch of racist fucks.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.