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Comment CS should not be a core subject (Score 2) 103 103

CS, much like blacksmithing, is a combination of art and science; as such, while anyone can learn the basics, only a minority of people are ever going to be good at it--let alone understand it enough to be good at it from the start. To put it another way, anyone can learn to play a musical instrument, but only a minority of people can be described as being musicians. There are many CS jobs that work this way, programming, database admin, and system and network administration being the obvious examples.

CS courses in elementary and even in middle school are generally a waste of time. The amount of accretive knowledge to be gained at that early an age isn't going to put any student so far along the learning curve that doing it all again in high school would be so repetitive as to be a waste of time. So just do it at the high school level, when kids are actually at the point of making career choices and the corresponding college selections to follow those choices. And don't make every kid take the CS course, when it's obvious far from every kids will be pursuing a CS-type career.

Comment Re:Called "Communism". (Score 1) 503 503

Star Trek was absolutely not communism, in that the State did not own everything. Sure, they owned the star ships and space ports and most of the stuff on them. But there were still farms and businesses and trade routes and mines and the State did not own any of that. They were much more efficient than that: The State owned the power production. The State was the only entity that made anti-matter, and without anti-matter, your star ship wasn't leaving the solar system. And if you couldn't leave the solar system, you had no access to the Andoran or Vulcan or Klingon markets. While on present-day earth, the dictatorships and kingdoms of the middle east thrived for as long as they did because the state owned the energy production, i.e., the oil. We are in the midst of huge changes in that regard, which is part of why the US government goes to great lengths to prop-up the Saudi dictatorship in order to protect access to their oil, despite said dictatorship being quite antithetical to nearly everything the USA was founded upon and is presumably supposed to stand for.

Militaries do no uses communist economics, it's dictated and centrally budgeted (i.e., planned). The notion that a pilot wants or needs to own his or her fighter jet is absurd at facevalue. In practice, the pilot, while presumably a volunteer, is nothing more than an employee.

And I don't charge my kids for use of the house because I didn't have kids as a means to an economic end; i.e., I didn't breed just to have free labor to use for my own purposes or to rent to others. So again, your notion that household economies are communistic are absurd.

Comment most important question goes unanswered (Score 1) 473 473

What language will these girls be learning? If it's javascript, php, python, or ruby, that's great. If it's Go or Swift, then this immediately reduces to a novel form of corporate welfare as Google and/or Apple get the government to pay for training their next generation workers

Comment dumb things to do with your phone (Score 1) 130 130

Some of the stupidest things you can do with your phone:
1. Enter your credit card number into it
2. Enter your SSN into it
3. Install your bank/mortgage co/car loan holder's app onto it
4. Access the web page of your bank/mortgage co./credit card co and pay your monthly bill.

If you never put any of your financial data into your phone or use your phone to pay bills or otherwise manage your finances, if you lose your phone all you will have lost is your phone. Do any of the above and lose your phone, and you will have lost an important part of your life.

Comment Re:Insurance companies suffer? (Score 2) 389 389

No it doesn't, the government here just pretends that it does. The first time you get side-swiped by some idiot in a pickup truck who is too busy texting to pay attention, and then find out they don't have insurance and the court doesn't really take seriously at all the promise to be financially liable that everyone signs when they get their drivers license, your insurance goes up because the court orders your claim to be covered by your uninsured drivers rider on your policy. And the texting, jobless, insurance-less idiot gets to keep his license. He also gets to do some BS do-nothing community service hours with the Red Cross or the YMCA in exchange for paying the fine on the traffic ticket, which means there is zero incentive to have insurance if you cannot afford it. Or to be a good driver, for that matter.

New Hampshire does a lot of things well using the minimalist government approach, but auto insurance is definitely not one of them.

Comment Unintended consequences (Score 1, Interesting) 236 236

My biggest fear regarding dying from an asteroid strike is not about the asteroid hitting me or the city I am in, but from unintended, extemporaneous consequences like someone in Russia or China panicking and launching a nuke at it, missing, and hitting France or the US or some other nuclear-capable nation and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hit in Pakistan or India being intentionally/accidentally mistaken as a nuclear strike by its neighbor, and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hitting a defunct Russian spy satellite, which was really a nuclear launch platform, and setting off the bombs, and starting WWIII. Or any asteroid strike anywhere being used as a convenient excuse by anyone to start WWIII.

So, in summary, the most worrisome unintended consequence of an asteroid strike is WWIII. Let's see the TFA's author gin-up some odds on that one.

Comment love/hate view on agile (Score 3, Insightful) 507 507

As a system admin, I admire agile for the rapid proto-typing. Because as we all know, business users seldom know what they really want, but they all know what they don't like. However, I hate agile for being the universal excuse for turning project management into an exercise for "let's make it up as we go along", because then everyone expects me to work like that too. They don't want to acknowledge, let alone understand, that being a good system admin is about being organized and informed and having a more than 5 minute attention span.

Comment Late advice (Score 1) 698 698

I know I'm late to the party here, but as a father I have a few things to share:

If she doesn't already, get her a savings account that she can manage, to learn about the value of money and preparedness. Tell her that she has free will, that everything not a fact is a choice, and that she has the power to chose, and that giving up that power is also a choice. So she doesn't need to buy-in to social "norms" or authoritarian stereotypes that are designed to limit her power because of her gender. If she can do that, she won't need to depend upon anyone else other than herself to make her way in this world.

On the other hand, she needs to know that no one is going to live her life for her, so she needs to have a plan, the will to carry it out, and the discipline to see it to the end despite the obstacles, hard work, or long hours. Anything worth having is worth working and fighting for, so she is going to need not just goals, but ideals, concepts she has enthusiasm and passion for to help carry her to her goals. As other have said, altruism, good morals, and a just being a nice person is going to help a lot. People are so much more inclined to help or at least be nice to someone who is polite and shows even the minimal kindness. Finally, explicitly tell her she needs to learn from your example, and to give of herself to others; family first and then on from there. To put another's need ahead of your own is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can manage, so it needs to be exercised judiciously, but sincerely.

I admire how you are handling this, and best of luck to you and your family making the most of the time you have.

Comment SOX, HIPAA, SEC & other regs (Score 2) 385 385

There are a host of federal regulations regarding maintaining the privacy of data that necessitate the use of corporate VPNs. Were the FBI to hack a corporate VPN and expose regulated data to the internet or the public via documents in an open hearing, the circus that would ensue as the Attorney General would try to explain how the FBI is exempt from all of those regs would be both entertaining and horrific.

Comment Re:PICK Basic Variants (Score 1) 242 242

I used to be a Pick programmer, but was fortunate enough to switch over to system administration just in time to survive the dotcom bust and remain employed, while some of my former coworkers who had jumped ship to various start-ups were now out looking for work. Then I discovered Python, which, unlike perl, java, or php, has gotten me to consider jumping back into being a full-time programmer again.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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