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Comment: Re:This is possibly the dumbest things I've seen.. (Score 1) 68

I don't have a clue as to all the use cases the navy needs a data center for. I really don't.

But I'm pretty sure a lot of it can be sent into *the cloud* with vendors with decent credentials. I would hope the navy ensures the cloud location and physical security. Maybe they reach an agreement to post their own navy security for particular labs? This is not an usual agreement to have a dedicated physical location for big clients. This happens with corporations. I'm sure the military could get such an agreement.

Not everything is "Top secret plans to invade Russia.docx"
I'm sure there's a lot of boring logistical, hr, mundane reports, recruitment tools, videos... that you don't need that anything beyond good cloud security.

Not to mention, there are various kinds of technologies that allow you to encrypt data going into the cloud so nothing in stored raw.

It has to be done intelligently of course, but I don't see why the government should not use the vast array of cloud solutions available from a lot of vendors.

Comment: Re:Economics is a science! (Score 1) 335

by scamper_22 (#49721843) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

The problem with looking at the economy by numbers is that so much of the numbers are set by people (Governments, ordinary citizens, bankers...)

People want to treat it like a scientific physical system, but it simply isn't.

When when interest rates go up/down? Entirely a political decision.

How much demand is there for housing? Depends largely on government policies (immigration, proprety tax rates, green belts, urban sprawl policies...)

How much are people investing? What tax shelters are there ( TFSA, RRSP by the government)... Related to the interest rate... do people feel like they have to invest because their money is always losing money...

Taxes, investments, subsidies, big infrastructure programs... all decided on a whim by governments.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 528

by scamper_22 (#49711563) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

The biggest problem is that people don't want to give a gradual solution. Many of these programs want to assume everyone should have every opportunity and be 'equal' NOW.

I was talking to this person once and I mentioned how rich people can afford to make mistakes more than poor people. Some rich girl can afford to screw around and get pregnant. Some rich guy can afford to screw around taking arts classes and getting drunk. Chances they will both be okay financially.

Want to know the secret to Asian success? This is it. My parents came here with little, and I know a thousand other families the same. I worked in factories, warehouses, fast food, got my degree, now I work as an engineer. Could I have ventured into the arts? Possibly. But I went for the more stable outcome.

My kids. They will have a better life. I won't spoil them, but they will certainly be allowed more leeway.

I don't get why people are upset at harvard for anything to do with opportunity. Harvard is an elite school. Chances are the Asian/blacks that get into harvard are going to be elite anyways. Funny story, I knew a bunch of egyptians who were quite well off, who would classify themselves as African-American (technically true), who would then get preferential treatment. I suspect a lot of well off blacks to the the same. It's not helping the poor/struggling people in general.

You want to deal with getting people out of poverty, you don't worry about a school for the top people. You worry about getting people into community college, trades, state schools. You worry about single mother hood, family breakdown, dependence. You worry about getting kids to read/write/show up on time/discipline.

I spent a year or so teaching and it just blows my mind how much this equality crap hurts these kids. Half these kids in crappy communities have no discipline and lack basic reading and writing. Yet, do we let the teacher deal with that? No... somehow that is 'unfair'. You wonder why African-American communities are still crappy. Because the government still lives in a fantasy land where we can have the same programs/standards for everyone.

I have a better idea. How about you work on getting a generation to get any kind of half decent job. Once that is there, their kids will have a better future.

Comment: Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

by scamper_22 (#49690035) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

This times a million.

Even in commercial software, for anything detailed, it is often better to just look a code. I don't trust the documentation to be up to date for anything detailed anyways. Enums, magic strings, detailed algorithm behavior... let me see the code (auto docs work good here as well)

But the one thing often lacking even in commercial projects is the big picture stuff. Showing all system, what is being called, big picture structure, where the important starting files are...

Comment: Re:Controversial because? (Score 3, Interesting) 284

by scamper_22 (#49681947) Attached to: Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

I'd like to know why people think there is an education system problem?

I'm in Canada, so maybe the situation in the US is vastly different, but even in Canada we always have people trumping the education crises.

Over the past 30-40 years we've tossed money after money in the education system, reforming this and that, and can anyone say we've done any better that just having a teacher in a classroom doing their thing?

Heck, does anyone find the irony that people trump up Asian/Indian education, when many of these places don't really spend a lot on education or have 'advanced pedagogy'.

For all the gripes about education system, we somehow still manage to raise some brilliant people. We somehow manage to have people keep doing their jobs and life keeps going.

I would humbly suggest that most of the problems people are trying to solve via the 'academic education' system are the wrong place.

We do have a lot of problems with behavior/family... I experienced this when I was a teacher. Really, what do you do with a kid whose parents don't even answer the phone from the school. Is it any surprise the kid doesn't really care about school?

This is much better addressed through social services and policy changes like empowering teachers run their classes with some discipline.

In all honestly, and this is purely anecdotal, the only difference from when I was a student to when I was a teacher is we lowered the class discipline and became paranoid.

The kids aren't any smarter, they don't think more critically, our lesson plans are fancier, but the output is the same, if not worse. I'm being generous here to the current system :P Sure, math is my day was mainly taught via the textbook and problems. Today, they're almost taking the math out of math. But the new way is more 'advanced' and has more 'pedagogy'

Similarly, most of the workplace/industrial issues are much better dealt with outside of k-12. Training of workers, retention of knowledgeable workers, pursuing advanced degrees... all have little to do with k-12 education and more to do with industry issues.

Why we even concerned with bringing more people into STEM, when I've seen very good STEM people leave the field. Some have become lawyers. Others into project management. Ponder that.

Just what is the education crisis? I just don't see it. As I said, I don't think we've advanced more than have a teacher in a classroom.

Comment: Re:How... (Score 1) 131

I really don't think it will help. I actually think it is hurting us.

As they say, putting money/effort into one thing takes money/effort from other things.

I think we put enough money into education; especially k-12. Speaking in Canada here, but I suspect the same is true in most parts of the US. The spending is there.

But is the spending there for say infrastructure/transit? Is it there to support an industrial policy? Is it there to support job sharing/reduced hours?...

Comment: Re:How... (Score 2) 131

I think this whole education solves all is a giant hail mary wish.

I'm in Canada and this is all we hear as the solution as well. Economy is going down, jobs leaving... invest in education.

Yet, where are the results? Nortel collapse. BB not doing too well. Skilled foreign workers programs. Can anyone tell me why we waste all this money on Western education if we're just going to import our skilled labor? If they can do the work, maybe all this spending on education is a waste. Seems they can spend much less and get good people.

You look at the US as well. Ok, some great companies in the US. No doubt about it. Here's a small hint to people. The US has over 300 000 000 people.

Heck, here's some perspective. Silicon Valley can't even provide prosperity for California. Just let that sink in. These guys talk about technology and education bringing prosperity to a whole country. Yet, it can't even bring prosperity to a single state.

Globally there's probably 6 or 7 billion people. Are we all going to be coders? Seriously...

Software and technology definitely gets people some jobs. But it pales in comparison to hundreds of millions and billions of people. But of course, rather than deal with this reality, our leaders just say... somehow if we pour enough into education, magic will come out and bring back the 1990s or whatever.

It's all they can think I guess.
I don't have all the answers, but we put way too much thought into education and far too little into everything else.

Germany is a huge powerhouse. They also have a big industrial policy. Ditto for China. And China has huge state firms and state lending.

I'm personally just sick of the education solves all problems that dominates North America. Where the hell are the results of all these?
Again, I'm not saying we don't need an educated populace. It's just does not solve the problem of jobs/prosperity.

I liken it to the great myth of solving healthcare costs. Only politicians and even people like to trot out that prevention will fix healthcare costs. It sounds nice, prevention is low cost and you won't need expensive surgery.

Of course, the data doesn't support that.

Basically, most costs are in old age anyways. In the big picture, unhealthy people are actually cheaper to treat because they die sooner.

Instead of dealing with the reality of old age costs, and the nasty debate of that (rationing, death panels...), we all just throw a hail mary at prevention.

Education sounds similar. A giant hail mary to solve a problem it can't.

Comment: Re:1st: Who Owns the 25% least well-tuned autos? (Score 1) 395

by scamper_22 (#49646877) Attached to: 25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution

I at times get amused at the ''assumptions people make'' which upon closer investigation are just not true.

This one you point out is right on the money. Rich people can stay close to the subways and near major employment locations. Then you have some subsidized housing and bad areas that might have decent transit. The old urban rich/poor... no middle class divide.

Then you have a huge swath of middle class and working poor people with crappy transit who tend to drive more.

Then again, there's also rich people who live out in the burbs in nice luxury homes...

It's all just complex.

Comment: Re:Yes if you can afford the time (Score 1) 267

by scamper_22 (#49623199) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

I find this one of the great tragedies of software development. I'm not saying the alternative would be better. I don't know how it would play out. I'm just commenting here.

Any of the 'big' languages (c, c++, java, c#) have all the ability to make things really easy.

Heck, I recently started using c# as my main scripting desktop scripting language (cs-script). I end up writing slightly more convenient wrapper so you don't end up worry about exceptions as often and polluting scripts.

You could for example have a generic Object map in c# and use it for all kinds of data passing just to get things working. Heck, one of my prototype techniques is often to just pass a map as a function parameter knowing I will be adding/deleting things as needed.

Heck, with a little bit of work, I'm sure someone could write some useful utilities/objects to make c#/java meet 99% of the use cases.

Instead for too often, people run out and build a whole new language.

Comment: Re:Trickle Down? (Score 1) 227

Education is very complex.

It is important to separate the issue of 'funding' from 'delivery'

I do agree with the idea that all children should have enough funding to get a decent education.

What the delivery model is really depends (public, private, voucher, charter...)

Sweden is going through an interesting case right now.
They have a full voucher system where you can either go to a public school or take your voucher to a private school.

I think this is really fair as if the public school does not suit you, you are free to go to a private school and you get equal funding.

The same is true in Canada in places like BC, Alberta. What's interesting is how this does not 'collapse' the public system. In most of these places, it is normally around 20% of kids enroll in these alternative schools.

How this gets twisted to mean against the poor baffles me. It empowers the poor to send their kids to alternate schools.

Technology is another big thing. I am a qualified teacher and technology can be a big changer. Lesson plans for example are normally shared by teachers ,but also held tightly. Really grade 9 math is going to be teaching the same thing in most areas under the same curriculum. Is there a reason for teachers to build their own lesson plans?

Theory: You build individual lesson plans for each class and tailor for different students.

Reality: most teachers don't do this. They just use general lesson plans and maybe if there is a special needs child, they will create an alternate lesson.

We could dramatically improve education by hiring more teaching assistants, using standard lesson plans, reducing teachers pay (IMHO).

For example, Instead of hiring one teacher at 90k, have one teacher at 60k, and one teaching assistant at 30k. This is just an example, the ratios can be whatever.

But of course this is the beauty of allowing alternate schools. They can experiment with these models. I really don't know if this will be better. In my opinion it would be.

Right now, it is just not tried as the public sector and teachers unions have a big say.

Even the common arguments in favor of public school tend to fall flat on their face. The main one being that it increases diversity as kids from all backgrounds go to the same school. This is ridiculous as parents now move entire neighborhoods to get their kids into a 'good school'. I think its an equally valid argument to suggest public schools INCREASE SEGREGATION. If you had school choice, maybe parents would stay in the same community knowing they could send their kids to a 'good school'.

Comment: Re:LIbertarian principle (Score 1) 438

by scamper_22 (#49587137) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

No, if there is one thing everyone should realize by now is that all ideologies think they're doing good for everyone.

I mean, you really can't get the average person to 'believe' in your ideology without in some way making it 'good' and 'moral'.

Now, how practical and how beneficial it is is a function of how it all plays out, which is very complex.

Someone could make an equal statement on say socialism where at its core is the desire to have all the power in government and trample other people, with the focus being preventing the weaker from having any control of their own lives and having people serve the interests of the powerful in government and connected industries.

I've found that arguing on broad principles of ideologies is pretty pointless. The implementation and how it plays out is the most important.

The big problem with Republicans and you see it here with Rand Paul is the policies that could help people tend to not be doable. So the only policies that tend to pass are those that benefit the rich/corporations. Again, it is not a problem with the ideology, but how it plays out.

Consider something like legalizing drugs or school choice or low cost of living, which are all features of the freedom ideology which would benefit the poor in their ideology. A lot of these don't stand a chance of getting realistically into law. But laws like cutting taxes or deregulating business are more plausible.

Republicans have done a horrible job of picking which policies they choose to push through. Obama for example used his might to push through Obama Care. For good or bad, he used it for something that might help the people.

You see this happening now with the left parties to some extent. Their policies to benefit the poor are increasingly hamstrung. Guaranteed income, subsidized housing, subsidized food... The only laws they seem to get through benefit mainly those in government/finance. They can give raises to the public sector unions, but can't help the poor. They prop up the housing market and drive up the cost of living, but can't help the poor or young with housing.

And so we see Rand Paul blocking Net Neutrality. This is on the backdrop how these big telecoms have received subsidies, have monopoly contracts with local governments...

It's just silly.

Comment: Re:Technology allows (Score 1) 636

by scamper_22 (#49585751) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

It's a complex answer as to why people have kids. It's different for different people.

But the idea that the only reason people don't have lots of kids in rich countries is because of career is a little far fetched.

Why not look at the reasons people have kids.

1. To take care of them when they're older
This is severely reduced in rich countries and would be even less so if we had some kind of guaranteed income. At best, you're doing it for the company, in which case 1-3 kids is plenty.

2. For religious reasons.
This one is valid and even in rich countries, you might still end up with a few large families. But that kind of very orthodox spread your seed kind of religiousness is on the decline.

3. For someone to love them.
Most parents I know find this out after the first kid. You don't have kids to fill the void in your life, because they have a lot of needs. Again, that's most people. You'll probably find the odd person with severe issues who just keeps popping em out.

4. Because you want kids.
Again, the first child is new and exciting. Then another and another. The novelty wears off for people.

This all has to be balanced with the reality that kids are a lot of work. And if you had free time, there's so much you could do from sports, to travelling, to writing, reading, hobbies, or heck just wasting time on netflix or drinking.
To top it all off, we're still limited by age, and the age of good pregnancy for women is not infinite. Say they finish school and have their fun by 26. They basically have 10-15 years to have their kids at best. That doesn't leave a lot of time to pop out lots of kids assuming you want to give the ones you have proper attention.

Comment: Why not find out how to keep female engineers? (Score 1) 634

by scamper_22 (#49568987) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

Why don't they actually talk to female engineers?

The vast majority I have known have moved on. Some left in school because it wasn't a good fit. Some left while in the workforce to other non engineering related jobs.

But here's the thing, so have many of my male colleagues.

When I ask these people why they left, the answers are pretty much there.
1. They're bored. The work doesn't interest them anymore, but it still requires you to be interested to make a decent contribution. You can't really go on auto pilot and still do your job.
2. work-life balance, deadlines...
3. More power/respect in other areas
4. More social in other areas ...

In short, general problems that I don't think are female specific at all. Maybe females are less likely to put up with it than males? But the issues are pretty much cross gender.

Let's face it, when women wanted the right to work, they wanted the right to work in nice jobs. Not the oil rigs, not the garbage man, not the grinding away lowly tech worker...
Let's face it, most men would like not to work such jobs either. We do it mainly because we feel we have to.

The reason women don't go into tech is the same reason they don't go into many other fields... it's not a nice job AND for those qualified women, there are way nicer jobs available. Make it a nice job and they will come. But then again, so would many men.

I'm not saying it is a horrible job. It is a decent job for me to make some decent money.
But for those women who are qualified to be in tech, being a teacher, nurse, government worker, doctor, lawyer, business person... is far more up their alley. Just as it is for many qualified men.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 285

That's a great comment. I'm going to borrow it sometime.

I sometimes get puzzled by people who talk about jobs like this.

If anyone should be paid millions, it is doctors who save your life or teachers who raise your kids.

Healthcare/Education is so important that doctors/teachers should have their salaries controlled to keep the cost of healthcare/education affordable.

Comment: Re:Easy Solution To H1B Problem (Score 1) 407

Unions have stopped working in the private sector.

If unions worked, we'd use them. Well I would at least.
The problem is even greater than the H1B Visa and its the same problem manufacturing workers faced.

You're not that special in the world. Free trade killed the viability of private sector unions in this context. You ever wonder about the H1B? He comes from India/China. Oh you plan to unionize the American labor location. No problem, we can setup shop in India/China and they can do their job there. Heck, most major American tech companies have over seas locations like that.

Once a company has multiple locations, the power of the union diminishes greatly. About the only private union that even has some meager power these days is the auto union. I'm Canadian, and even that is under threat as Mexico and even other parts of the US get capacity.

This does not mean private sector unions are impossible. It's just not as simple as organizing. You need changes to corporate governance, union structure, industrial policy... all kinds of changes, like in Germany.

And then you get into the weird area where everyone wants to be Germany making 'high-value' items. Well then you start to dilute that specialty making that model less likely to work.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.