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Comment: Exposure is more important than mastery here (Score 1) 313

by pxc (#46409129) Attached to: Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?

A single class before high school should be required, and 3-4 classes should be available during high school. A single middle school class oriented toward problem-solving and constructing small projects would be a good way to reveal to talented students that this is something they're good at and might enjoy, which is an experience many students don't get a chance to have until college. And of course it should be available as an elective in high school, perhaps being one of several options for fulfilling some math/science/finance/logic-themed area required for graduation.

Comment: Re:Business Plan (Score 1) 246

by pxc (#45710425) Attached to: The Business of Attention Deficit Disorder

I think it might be just you. But then, I'm a student, so I have little experience with typical workplaces at all, never mind the ‘old workplace’, whatever that was like. But I do know something about this, as I take drugs for clinical depression every day (and several times a week, drugs for ADHD). Antidepressants don't really cause persistent euphoria once you've been on them for a couple of days or more. I take an atypical antidepressant called Bupropion, which is a pseudostimulant (it also helps with my ADHD, and that means I get to take less methylphenidate, which I like to avoid taking), so my experience is probably different from those experiences of people who take SSRIs. Nonetheless, I feel very much ‘like myself’ on my anti-depressant medication. I don't think most people would describe me as ‘cheerful’, and certainly none would say I'm a ‘positive’ person, although I like to joke and play. I have several friends who are also prescribed pharmaceutical treatment for depression, and you probably wouldn't be able to pick them out from a crowd because of some strange, numbed, or overly happy-seeming behavior. Anti-depressants aren't really happy-pills.

That's why I instead call mine ‘my don't-kill-yourself’ pills.

Again, just my 2. A lot of people are on different drugs, and even among people I know personally I've seen very different responses to the drugs I take.

Comment: Re:This article makes no sense (Score 1) 289

by pxc (#45229283) Attached to: The Cybersecurity Industry Is Hiring, But Young People Aren't Interested

Fourthly, even if a generation of kids with a strong anti-authoritarian streak (and who were shocked and appalled by various US administration's behaviour from Guantanamo Bay to Snowden while growing up) aren't interested in doing cybersecurity for the US government or bureaucratic defence contractors, that's a totally different thing to "not being interested in cybersecurity at all".

This is the most important point. As a soon-to-graduate computer science and math major for whom cybersecurity is a possible career option, this is my biggest concern as far as working in cybersecurity goes. It's also a problem more generally. I want as little to do with the military-industrial complex as possible. Here in Tucson, Raytheon is one of the more popular targets for student internships in CS and engineering, but I'm not interested. I don't think I could work for a weapons company, or any the imperialist public structures that support them, in good conscience.

But if I continue to study mathematics and computer science after I finish my undergraduate degrees, I would be very happy to work on projects like Tor and Freenet, or crypto-currencies. There are alsocommercial security technologies I'd be happy to work on (like privacy-enhancing desktop & smartphone apps, a là TextSecure).

Comment: Re: 29 years old (Score 2) 432

by pxc (#44212615) Attached to: Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles <em>Logan's Run</em> In 2274

A foreigner gets caught up in their own idioms and sometimes erroneously imports them into their understanding of English (and we do the same in other languages). My girlfriend is from Mexico City, and she's likely to occasionally say ‘of X’ rather than ‘X's’. She also sometimes confuses gendered possessive pronouns, because in Spanish the gender is determined by the gender of the object, whereas in English it's determined by the one who possesses it.

A lot of Latinate languages (Spanish and French are the only ones I know well enough to speak for) use two-part negations, which might sometimes seem like double negation to an English speaker. As it happens, we use a two part negation for disjunctive lists as well: neither/nor; neither/or is wrong. It looks like the writer here just didn't know to attach the negation to the word or rather than placing the negation after it.

I would also argue that your position is wrong generally: native speakers can happily pick up idiomatic irregularities by habit, but second-language learners are more likely to presume regularity and just run with it because they haven't had a chance to pick up the irregularities of our idioms by experience.

Comment: Nice try, I guess (Score 1) 542

by pxc (#42861775) Attached to: Pope To Resign Citing Advanced Age

Neither ‘news for nerds’ nor ‘stuff that matters’ is a proposition, and they can't serve as logical operands as-is. You'd have to change them into propositions, with the most likely and sensible conversions being ‘Slashdot hosts news for nerds’ and ‘Slashdot hosts stuff that matters’. You AND those propositions together, and then it is clear that articles may qualify for being posted to Slashdot without being both news for nerds and stuff that matters.

Comment: Re:Why do anarchists hate science? (Score 1) 333

by pxc (#40605593) Attached to: Trying to Untangle Anarchist Attacks On Scientists

A few friends of mine who are philosophically-grounded, kind of hyperliterate anarchists have adopted alternative names for their positions because of those associations. 'Anti-statist' is a good one. A moderate friend of mine with strong anarchist sympathies calls himself a 'minarchist'.

I actually have seen a handful of anarchist protests. Here in Arizona, they're pretty recognizable because they march together in all black clothing, a loose sort of uniform. Sometimes anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists are included, but I don't think I've personally ever seen them with a communist flag. 'Round here they serve an especially nice function as (often armed) counter-protesters during Neo-Nazi rallies, to whom the police are sometimes, astonishingly sympathetic (although most of the time it's pretty clear that they're just trying to keep the peace and prevent the white supremacists from being injured by angry crowds).

Comment: Re:US, nobody gives a shit (Score 1) 310

by pxc (#39875357) Attached to: Stop Being Poor: U.S. Piracy Watch List Hits a New Low With 2012 Report

I know that our cultures do have real, significant differences, but the notion that the US is ‘anti-social’ whereas China isn't does not adequately describe any of those differences. I know that the individualism of the US can seem cold or disconnected at times, but that doesn't mean that we don't have real friendships or that social connections still don't ultimately drive entertainment for us.

I spend a lot of my time listening to recorded music, and so do my friends. Part of what this lets us do is discover new music and develop specific tastes. What I love about it is that when my friends and I explore new genres, new styles, or particular artists, we have a chance to do it together. One of my favorite things to do with records is recommend them to friends. When I make a successful recommendation, I feel like I get to show a friend that I understand their taste, care about it, and want to share with them all kinds of things that I know they'll love. Often, I then later go out with those same friends to go see the bands to which we introduced one another at live performances. A couple of times, we've even all crammed into a car and driven for 6-9 hours to go to another state so we could go see someone play.

What I mean by all of this is that sometimes the specifics of the music being played are important, and they actually provide a way to show affection and build relationships rather than avoid them. And please, don't let the actions motivated by giant sacks of money in the hands of some of our most powerful industries pervert the way you think about American citizens. We have a lot of flaws, as do all peoples, but music is now and has always been a deeply social affair for human beings. It still is here, and for most ordinary citizens, the social aspect of music is more important than any industrial metrics. Some of us even remember that copyright is not an end-in-itself.

I wouldn't ask you to approve of all aspects of American culture, but please don't tell me that I don't love my friends or family because of some secondhand ideas you have about how I feel about copyright issues. I would always hesitate to jump to similar conclusions about you based upon your national policy.

Comment: Re:Sony v. Hotz (Score 1) 224

by pxc (#39841767) Attached to: Valve's Steam &amp; Games Coming To Linux

Geohotz wasn't acting in a professional capacity when he jailbroke the PS3. His ability to feed his family did not depend upon the kinds of limitations Sony imposed or hoped to impose with their PS3's DRM. The kind of subjugation I was talking about is ‘the kind of subjugation that makes you starve’. I also meant only those limitations imposed by restraining from violating the DRM, not the possible legal consequences of reverse-engineering it.

So, as I intended to say before: I don't think DRM on games is capable of imposing the same *kind* of subjugation on end-users, although it's still subjugation and it still sucks.

Comment: Re:Good luck (Score 1) 324

by pxc (#39815679) Attached to: Phoronix Confirms GNU/Linux Steam and Source Engine Clients

(Almost) everything should be open source and (eventually) free; freely accessible and readily dissectable contributions to society put society in a better position than it had before. That doesn't mean that non-free software can't also constitute a contribution to the society, especially when it comes in the form of inessential software or art (i.e. video games) which serves (even incidentally) to support the general viability of a free platform.

And I think it's possible to express a preference for an open-source methodology to a company who sells or provides you with closed-source software without being a dick about it. The Desura Linux client was eventually open-sourced, after the Linux Desura community had been suggesting it for some time. Most of those suggestions came in the form of ‘an open-sourced client would be awesome; thanks for all you've done so far’. I hope and expect that in the Steam case, us F/OSS people who request or suggest that they open-source the Steam client do it with an air of gratitude, as was done in the Desura case. As customers, we have a reasonable right to tell the companies who've chosen or might choose to serve us what we would like from them. So long as those demands are expressed civilly, with an attempt toward persuasion rather than insults or tantrum-throwing, I don't think we ever owe it to Valve (or anyone) to sit back down and say that forevermore ‘we are pleased’. Saying that you'd be even happier if things were a little different isn't really biting the hand that feeds.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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