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Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 4, Informative) 258

by ranton (#49746433) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

What a jumbled mush of disgruntled ramblings. I can understand why you are so disgruntled because you are probably upset that none of your coworkers or likely even friends and family listen to your incoherent arguments.

Making business more reliable and reducing risks is not communism. It isn't even capitalism, it is just good business.

Part of managing a company is ensuring you do not take unnecessary risks. One very unnecessary risk is relying too much on individual employees. Any employee can be hit by a bus tomorrow, and a well run company can weather the loss of any one employee no matter how skilled. One part of proper knowledge management is codifying and disseminating the intrinsic knowledge of key employees so the company is not too reliant on them.

Comment: Re:Vehicle Weight (Score 1) 817

by ranton (#49736961) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Yes but the benefit caused by a single tractor-trailer is also much greater than the benefit caused by a passenger car. A large number of people benefit from the truck, but only the passengers benefit from the car.

But the cost incurred by the single tractor-trailer is also spread out among everyone who benefits from the truck (in the form of increased shipping costs). So I don't really see how the difference in utility really matters here.

Comment: Re:ENOUGH with the politics! (Score 1) 1070

by ranton (#49735107) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Is Slashdot TRYING to lose readers? I thought this was a TECH forum.

Is this a serious question? Just look at the number of comments a story like this gets compared to others. In my feed this story has more comments than the four stories surrounding it. These stories even get more posts than flame war bait about IDE, OS, or language choice.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by ranton (#49700571) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

So if luck is one of the key factors that make people successful, Elon Musk has proven statistics and probability are a completely broken field.

Elon Musk is currently worth about $12 billion. There are about 100 people in the world with a net worth that high. Elon Musk may be more diversified in his businesses than most billionaires, but he is not unique.

And no one is saying it only takes luck to be successful, just that luck is a key factor. Perhaps even the most important factor in becoming a billionaire. That can't be said for becoming a millionaire, which almost anyone can do with just hard work and almost no luck (other than perhaps being born in the developed world).

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by ranton (#49700301) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

They found that the random 'lucky' events weren't really so random. Usually the 'lucky' people worked hard to put themselves in the position for that lucky break to happen. While something like winning the lottery does take luck, you still have to put yourself in the position to have that chance at luck.

That is a bit of a red herring when trying to limit the role of luck in monumental success stories. No one really thinks they can win the lottery without buying a lottery ticket. And they don't think they can become a billionaire without having ownership stock in a company.

Some people simply understand that a large percentage of people who do take smart risks still end up failing regardless of their level of ability or persistence. Its likely even the majority of persistent and highly skilled entrepreneurs end up never succeeding. This is important for people to understand when they are deciding what risks to take in life.

Comment: Re:23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 848

by ranton (#49692955) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

I will certainly concede a lack of knowledge on Greek religious culture, and as long as your characterization is accurate (and I have no reason to doubt it) I would guess Greek religious tendencies have more to do with a strong religious culture than their economic woes. They are certainly not unique in the world, although they are fairly unique in the developed world.

TOTALY anecdotical, but from personal knowledge (for Russia and other Slavic countries): It is the young people that return! Old people are influenced by communism - either as fanatic communists (so fanatic Atheists) OR still afraid that "the monster may return, lets keep our heads down, stupid young people should not expose their belief". Keep in mind that those Slavic states are Orthodox also.

Here is the first study I came across detailing the demographics or religious belief in Russia. It appears that in 2008, 53% of 16-29 year old Russians believe in God, compared to 69% of ages 70+. It also showed that the religious beliefs of ages 16-69 are pretty constant, it is only those ages 70+ which are more religious. So I guess we can both see what we want to see from those stats, since even though there is a sharp drop-off for those under 70, there is no additional drop-off for the millennial generation.

It is odd that belief in God was inversely related to belief in the afterlife. I have no idea what to make of that.

hey most certainly do not "DIS-believe" in GOD(s) since they aren't sure GOD(s) DOESN'T exist. EACH Agnostic fill the full spectrum from assuming GOD(s) probably exist and assuming GOD(s) probably don't exist. But what ALL OF THEM lack is KNOWLEDGE BASED faith in a deity, or else they would not self-identify as agnostic. They would instead identify themselves as religious but still harbor some doubts, which probably describes most religious people.

When discussing religion, I guess I use the word "belief" as meaning religious belief. So lack of devotion to a deity is the same as lack of belief. So in this context the opposite of belief is not dis-belief, just lack of belief. I hope that adds clarity to my original statement, since I don't disagree with most of your more precise statements in the above quote.

I do disagree with the "EACH" qualifier you added in the second sentence though. Many agnostics believe there probably are god(s), they just have no idea what qualities they may have. Many agnostics also believe there is the same probability of god(s) existing as there are of unicorns being real. For instance I self-identify as both an atheist and agnostic (as most atheists educated in the subject do), so obviously I am on the latter end of the spectrum. And while this is purely anecdotal, every agnostic I have met who doesn't also claim to be atheist has been someone who has admitted to not putting much though into religion.

The problem is most Agnostics/"Atheists" can't even define themselves, i.e., what the terms mean TO THEM.

This is simply a product of trying to label complex beliefs with simple terms. Labeling all atheists or agnostics the same would be just as inaccurate as labeling all Christians the same. Or perhaps even labeling all religious beliefs as the same. To give just one example my mother and father are both Methodist, but they have very different opinions on the Bible's literalness.

Comment: Re:23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 848

by ranton (#49688825) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

As a religious person my hopes are the opposite of yours as you understand.

Obviously, and I bear no ill will or judgement because of this.

I must mention to you that other research in Greece (very "free will" culture, so comparison to USA can be made) has found an opposite trend (and younger people returning in churches).

One thing I found interesting when reading a publication by the Child Trends organization was the relationship between economic advancement and religiosity. From a summary section: As countries develop economically, there is less emphasis on dominant religious traditions and
values and more emphasis placed on secular institutions.
This study was from 2000, but it does help illustrate why a country like Greece would be seeing an uptick in religious belief even though Europe as a whole does not show this trend (to the best of my knowledge).

Plus you must always take in consideration former "Atheist" by force (ex-Communist) states, e.g., Russia, where after decades of oppression/persecution religion is returning as a way of life. Also... China, the most "Atheist" country (90% i think - don't have the data now), where prediction about Christianity (!) gives hope to people like me.

I would assume that any country where religious belief was suppressed by force would see that religion return once the oppression is lifted. It would be interesting to see how that religion returns based on generational demographics though. If the youth are returning to religion at a lesser rate than older adults, it would show this religious resurgence is short lived. I couldn't find any statistics quickly on this though.

All people who have no affiliation believe in God (but don't belong to a church)

That is true, but they are on average more accepting of those with no religious beliefs. The lack of adherence to a particular set of dogma make them more open minded in general. That was what I meant by them creating an environment where lack of religious belief is not looked down upon.

"agnostics" are surely not what you are, even if often mistakenly categorized as people that don't believe in God.

They most certainly do not "believe" in God since they aren't sure gods even exist. Agnostics fill the full spectrum from assuming god(s) probably exist and assuming god(s) probably don't exist. But what they almost universally lack is faith in a deity, or else they would not self-identify as agnostic. They would instead identify themselves as religious but still harbor some doubts, which probably describes most religious people.

and most if not all Christians are agnostics to an extend (based on their "pathos", as in "experience" - of God) because God does not reveal to us fully, and does it in different ways and degree to each one.

I have never run into a study on religious belief where people who believe in God but are not 100% devout are identified as agnostic. Agnostic and atheist both have very loose definitions, but a lack of faith in a deity is one sure piece of common ground.

Comment: Re: News for nerds (Score 1) 848

by ranton (#49684719) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

Please show me how anything similar to religious/spiritual principles can be derived from Newton's laws, the periodic table, or any of the other findings of science. Please provide an example of using the findings of science, or the scientific method, to answer an ethical or moral problem.

Seriously, just Google the term "scientific basis for morality". You could spend the next few years just reading various scientific explanations for various ethical or moral problems.

Comment: Re:23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 848

by ranton (#49682645) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

You are a man of few words Sir, but since you are a "4 digit" old Slashdoter, may i ask you how a (Greek Orthodox) Christian like me can get off your "hit list"?

The research found in the article link shows young people are far less likely to be religious than old people. Around half as likely in fact. So it is likely many of the gains we have seen in the last decade has just been from older generations dying off. So regardless of how open minded you are, you will be off his "hit list" in due time. You will be replaced by someone from a younger generation who far less likely to be religious. And in 20 years the next young generation will hopefully be far less religious than today's millennials.

By the way, this 27% are people "describing themselves as atheist, agnostic, or simple having no affiliation", so i think most of them should be in your "hit list" also, because "agnostic, or simple having no affiliation" does not mean "religious Atheist" as i guess you are mister insightful men of few words...

As an atheist myself, I am perfectly happy with people considering themselves agnostic since by my definition they are basically the same thing. Virtually every atheist is agnostic, and vice versa. Atheism is just a lack of religious conviction, which is something all agnostics share or else they would be worshiping their deity of choice. People who have no affiliation are not necessarily atheist or agnostic, but they do at least help create an environment where lack of religious belief is not looked down upon.

Comment: Re: News for nerds (Score 5, Insightful) 848

by ranton (#49682301) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

Belief systems and the practice of science are as unrelated as music and athletics. There are plenty of excellent scientists that are devout believers in various religions.

While your second statement is obviously true, that does not help validate your first statement. Every limitation can be overcome, even being a religious scientist. I equate it as being similar to a professional basketball player who is under 6' tall. It is absolutely possible but it does impact your play.

Neil Degrasse Tyson has a great lecture which goes over how religious thought has impacted some of the greatest minds in history. He also writes about the concept in an article titled "The Perimeter Of Ignorance." As I understood his point, there have been times when great scientific scholars have stopped their pursuit of knowledge because they were content with the "God did it" explanation.

Newton stopped investigating the movement of planets once his current mathematical knowledge was put to the task of understanding how planets affect each others' orbits. This was the man who invented Calculus and wrote the Principia, but even he was guilty of not pushing forward the boundaries of science because he was content with the "God did it" answer. If not for his religious beliefs, perhaps he would have added inventing perturbation theory to his list of accolades and could have introduced it a century before Laplace did.

I am not arrogant enough to think I could keep religious beliefs from impacting my ability to investigate the world rationally if even geniuses like Newton couldn't.

The most troubling causational link he highlights is how the Islamic world lost its place as a center of scientific progress when a radical version of Islam took hold in the 12th century. Over the centuries that followed, the Islamic world went from being the place Algebra was invented to having 0.6% of Nobel laureates in Physics/Chemistry/Medicine with 23% of the world's population.

My favorite concept from his lecture is the danger of Revelation Replacing Investigation. It is at the core of why scientific thought and religious thought are at opposing sides, even though they can both exist within the same human being.

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 1) 422

by ranton (#49675415) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

Slashdot today:
Broad-brush assertion accusing "deniers" of dishonesty gets scored 5, Insightful.

Unfortunately Slashdot doesn't have an "Obvious But Still Important To Say" option, so Insightful will have to do.

In this case though I would agree that Informative is a better mod, since his statement isn't that insightful it is just correcting the previous post when he stated climate change deniers are skeptical. While they may be skeptical in the "skeptical science is the best way to gain knowledge" sense, they are not the good kind of skeptical that actually help the debate on what to do above climate change.

Comment: Re:Umm, yeah? (Score 1) 85

by ranton (#49671539) Attached to: The Best-Paying IT Security Jobs of 2015

You *cannot* mix individual and household income and somehow treat them as equivalent. They are not. I was refuting the "51K median HH income" BS.

This thread was already mixing individual income ($89k average tech-pro salary) and median income ($51k median HH income) so I was merely following the convention. I agree that we shouldn't be looking at HH income at all though, and should focus on average college grads making $51k and average tech-pro workers making $89k. These stats are slightly different since one is median and one is the mean, but I doubt there are many 1%-ers skewing the tech-pro salaries.

No on strives for "median". Half the population lack college degrees. Median income means no/some college. And half the population with college degrees have worthless paper in English or Psychology or Communications or some economically equivalent worthless crap.

We are already ignoring the population that lack college degrees since the $51k/yr figure only includes college grads. And while many people have fairly useless college degrees, many IT workers not qualified for much more than tier-2 help desk support.

Once you have a degree in a field that requires intelligence, education and skill, and produces value, then you can start making comparisons. Compare IT salaries with others in the STEM fields. We still do OK, but we are not making out brilliantly.

IT salaries should probably be fairly mediocre compared to STEM fields as a whole. It is on the very low end of necessary training / skills except in some very specialized sub-fields where workers do average six digit salaries.

Comment: Re:Stagnant pay for IT (Score 1) 85

by ranton (#49667589) Attached to: The Best-Paying IT Security Jobs of 2015

I was making $85,000/yr in the '90s in IT. Bumping that by only $15,000 in 25 years seems kind of insulting.

IT workers need to stop using salaries in the 90's as evidence that IT salaries have stagnated. Pay in the 90's was bloated, and there was a massive correction after the bubble burst.

The S&P 500 finally reached its 2000 peak in April 2015. Considering the tech sector was a major contributor to the stock market crashing in 2000, it makes sense that IT wages would not be much higher than they were 20 years ago.

Also, most IT sector workers have their salaries stagnate at around $100k per year because they have trouble transitioning their career into a senior level / management role. If you don't have more responsibilities than you did 10 years ago, you shouldn't make more money other than cost of living raises.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie