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Comment: Re:absolutely (Score 1) 205

by spirality (#33070266) Attached to: FTC Wants Browsers To Block Online Tracking

Getting people to agree with you is not a measure of right.

This country was great because it was NOT a democracy, but rather a Constitutional republic, which recognized certain spheres of power.

A democratic element was a necessary part of this structure, but it was just one of many.

The national government had its place. The state governments theirs. The individual theirs.

Corporations (read economic power), especially post industrial revolution, is difficult to grapple with, indeed.

However, what needs to be appreciated is that oftentimes economic power colludes with political power. Corporations are powerful often because of big government.

You imply that a corporation does allow you to say "that's not fair". However, you can choose not to do business with a corporation. That is your check. You can also try to convince others to not do business with that corporation. Without customers corporations do not exist, well unless they have convinced the government to prop them up, and that is a HUGE problem.

On the other hand, you can not choose to ignore the government, or if you do, you do so at your own peril. The government has a monopoly on the use of force and if you do not comply you will ultimately find yourself deprived of property, liberty, and life. Depending upon how far you are willing to take your non-compliance. There is no peaceful "opting-out".

The merger of these two powers is especially scary. What has happened in the last three or four years in the U.S. is very troubling. Bailouts, healthcare "reform", financial "reform" - these represent the merger of economic power with political power. Of course, it's not like this just started in the last three or four years, but there has been an acceleration.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 2, Insightful) 299

by spirality (#32860308) Attached to: ScienceBlogs.com Deals With Community Backlash Over PepsiCo Column

Who said I was not skeptical of the corporate scientists? Clearly they can not be always be trusted.

I was just pointing out how corporate scientists always get a bad rap and how government scientists tend to get a free pass.

But in fact government scientists have an interest in promoting ideas that free up more funds for their research. Also, as government employees/contractors, they have an interest in pleasing the source of their monies.

Basically it comes down to this. When a government scientist reaches conclusions that call for more government you should view such conclusions with some skepticism because of the inherent conflict of interest that exists.

Just like when Phillip Morris's research department says smoking is actually good for you.

Just like when businesses promote legislation that benefits them.

You must always ask "cui bono"?

Comment: Re:DP, Algorithms, OOP A&D, Threading, etc (Score 1) 396

by spirality (#31199796) Attached to: What Knowledge Gaps Do Self-Taught Programmers Generally Have?

Yeah, these are the things that simply "programming" won't teach you. Not that you couldn't learn these things yourself.

As a practicing software engineer, I think my limited knowledge of computer architecture has proven quite valuable over the years.

Also agreed on theory. Having the ability to identify NP Complete problems is useful.

I would add the following to your list:

Basic Operating System Design, although you do encompass that in some of your other categories - threading, architecture

Functional Programming: Scheme, LISP, ML, etc... Most people who are "just programmers" don't learn such languages and thus don't typically think functionally, which can be useful when solving some problems. Sadly many computer science programs don't even teach this.

Math Generally: calculus, linear algebra, statistics, combinatorics, logic

Comment: Re:The irony, of course... (Score 1) 925

by spirality (#28406391) Attached to: US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan

The best commentary I have read on this issue is this: âoeEvery choice (whether to have private or socialized medicine) leads to other choices. So if what the media tells us is true, that âmost people favor socialized medicine,â(TM) then what theyâ(TM)re really saying is most people would rather be dead than bankrupt."

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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