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+ - Extreme secrecy eroding support for Obama's trade pact->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Classified briefings and bill-readings in basement rooms are making members queasy.

f you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you've got to be a member of Congress, and you've got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

If you're a member who wants to read the text, you've got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

And no matter what, you can't discuss the details of what you've read.

"It's like being in kindergarten," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who's become the leader of the opposition to President Barack Obama's trade agenda. "You give back the toys at the end."

For those out to sink Obama's free trade push, highlighting the lack of public information is becoming central to their opposition strategy: The White House isn't even telling Congress what it's asking for, they say, or what it's already promised foreign governments.

Link to Original Source

+ - The Programming Talent Myth

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Jake Edge writes at LWN.net that there is a myth that programming skill is somehow distributed on a U-shaped curve and that people either "suck at programming" or that they "rock at programming", without leaving any room for those in between. Everyone is either an amazing programmer or "a worthless use of a seat" which doesn't make much sense. If you could measure programming ability somehow, its curve would look like the normal distribution. According to Edge this belief that programming ability fits into a bi-modal distribution is both "dangerous and a myth". "This myth sets up a world where you can only program if you are a rock star or a ninja. It is actively harmful in that is keeping people from learning programming, driving people out of programming, and it is preventing most of the growth and the improvement we'd like to see." If the only options are to be amazing or terrible, it leads people to believe they must be passionate about their career, that they must think about programming every waking moment of their life. If they take their eye off the ball even for a minute, they will slide right from amazing to terrible again leading people to be working crazy hours at work, to be constantly studying programming topics on their own time, and so on.

The truth is that programming isn't a passion or a talent, says Edge, it is just a bunch of skills that can be learned. Programming isn't even one thing, though people talk about it as if it were; it requires all sorts of skills and coding is just a small part of that. Things like design, communication, writing, and debugging are needed. If we embrace this idea that "it's cool to be okay at these skills"—that being average is fine—it will make programming less intimidating for newcomers. If the bar for success is set "at okay, rather than exceptional", the bar seems a lot easier to clear for those new to the community. According to Edge the tech industry is rife with sexism, racism, homophobia, and discrimination and although it is a multi-faceted problem, the talent myth is part of the problem. "In our industry, we recast the talent myth as "the myth of the brilliant asshole", says Jacob Kaplan-Moss. "This is the "10x programmer" who is so good at his job that people have to work with him even though his behavior is toxic. In reality, given the normal distribution, it's likely that these people aren't actually exceptional, but even if you grant that they are, how many developers does a 10x programmer have to drive away before it is a wash?"

Comment: Re:Sort of dumb. (Score 2) 529

by jcr (#49618715) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

They didn't seem to think there was anything unusual about asking an interview candidate to spend an entire day doing pair programming with them on their own codebase.

Heh... I had a similar situation a month or so ago. Headhunter cold-called me, told me how hard they're looking for people with serious amounts of Mac experience, so I went to see the customer (startup over in Mountain View), product wasn't terribly interesting, and then the recruiter says they want me to come in for a "coding exercise" that should only take about four to six hours. I told him my rate for very short term projects, and he actually expected me to give them six hours of my time on spec.

I quit taking his calls.

-jcr

Comment: Re:The Perfect Bait (Score 1) 1052

by jcr (#49609799) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Organise a "draw Jesus sodomizing Mary" contest in Texas and you'll get crazy Christian jihadists doing the same thing.

This turns out not to be the case. That dude who got tax money for an "art" piece that consisted of a crucifix immersed in urine is still walking around, with no contract on his head that I've ever heard of.

-jcr

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