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Comment Flawed article (Score 1) 425 425

Ultra-marathon running is used for an analogy. The thing about running in any race is that nobody else is affected by one's running ability. If one is a mediocre runner, one doesn't negatively affect one's co-runners; nor the quality of one's product (because there isn't one); nor the profitability of one's company (because there isn't one of those either); nor the satisfaction of one's users or the security of their data (because there aren't users either). Hence, it's not clear that running is a good analogy.

There are also some careers where nobody wants a mediocre practitioner. When one's freedom is on the line, nobody wants a mediocre lawyer; when one's life is on the line, nobody wants a mediocre doctor. Therefore, why should it necessarily be the case that companies would want mediocre programmers? Some programming does have life on the line: software in cars, planes, nuclear reactors, or Therac-25 radiation machines; or people's or company's finances: software in banking or stock trading.

There are also some careers where you simply can't succeed at being mediocre, for example any kind of research scientist: if you don't publish good work (and have the kind of innate ability to enable you to do good work so you can publish), you simply won't succeed. How do you we know whether programming is the kind of job where one can be mediocre and succeed?

I've interviewed lots of candidates, many of whom claim N years experience in language X. I'm often stunned at how much many don't know -- stuff that anybody who completes a CSX101 or algorithms or data structures course should know. Is that mediocre?

Comment Re:Misleading assertions (Score 3, Informative) 188 188

Why are we carbon based and not silica based? Either works just fine.

No it doesn't. If you do the chemical equations for respiration using carbon, you end up with CO2 as a waste product that's easy for an organism to get rid of since it's a gas. If you substitute silicon for carbon, the equations still work but you end up with SiO2 as a waste product -- sand -- a solid that's pretty much impossible for an organism to get rid of.

Submission + - 42 Artificial Intelligences Are Going Head to Head in 'Civilization V'

rossgneumann writes: The r/Civ subreddit is currently hosting a fascinating "Battle Royale" in the strategy game Civilization V, pitting 42 of the game's built-in, computer-controlled players against each other for world domination. The match is being played on the largest Earth-shaped map the game is capable of, with both civilizations that were included in the retail version of the game and custom, player-created civilizations that were modded into it after release.

Comment Re:Maybe this is good! (Score 1) 325 325

If the ability to add an SD card is a feature you want and, after reading Apple's specs, you discover that Apple devices don't accept SD cards, you should simply not buy an Apple device. While the merits of the other aspects of the lawsuit are debatable, the lack of SD card support isn't. Nobody put a gun to these people's heads to buy an Apple device.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen