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Comment: Re:"Fan favorites"? (Score 5, Informative) 226

by Sycraft-fu (#47734671) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

It should be understood that while her looks surely played a part in her getting cast on a permanent basis, that wasn't how she got in the door. They didn't post an ad looking for female models/actresses. She was an intern on the show, working there because she loved creating and wanted to work for M5. She got called on camera to help with a myth (by providing a mold of her butt) and that was what started it.

Skill got her the position with the show initially,

Also as you note, personality goes a long way, and she has a very good one for the screen. That is why Adam Savage is a part of the show. Mythbusters was originally pitched to Jamie Hyneman but he knew, correctly, that he wouldn't be able to carry a show like that alone because of his dry personality. So he suggested Savage, who he'd worked with in the past, in part because he's a goofball.

With a show like that it takes a combination of skill and presentation to make it a hit, and that was what the hosts had, Byron included.

Comment: Ooops! (Score 3, Funny) 144

by jd (#47734597) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Found a bug in physics.c, those cars we mass produced last year will spontaneously explode after 367 days of exposure to an atmosphere containing oxygen, or when white lines are painted rather than vinyl, or when attempting a corner of a prime number of degrees when speeding on a cambered road.

Why wasn't this spotted sooner?

Because we hadn't expected to need chemistry or non-Euclidian geometry in a physics engine.

Comment: Re:Perhaps this won't be a popular view... (Score 1) 226

by jd (#47734539) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Then make the episodes longer. Or have one set of presenters on the first show (they're usually paired) and the others on the second show. Or eliminate redundant footage so that you can have two or three times the content. Or eliminate the advertisers, sorry adverts, and get three times the running length.

Comment: Re:Not sure if gone (Score 1) 226

by jd (#47734503) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Discovery got caught using fake footage in documentaries. No scientist should be working with a channel that is peddling fraudulent material. History lost a lot of reputation with their academically bogus Ancient Aliens stuff, but at least they didn't try to offer photographs and videos they themselves doctored as "evidence".

If the three have projects worth taking seriously, they won't be projects on Discovery. HBO has less of a credibility issue.

Comment: Re:Response Bias (Score 1) 402

Surely that's the very question they asked, and are not hiding it? I mean that's what the article flat out says, right? People want to both hire and work with the top people regardless of where they're from, and the general US attitude towards issuing foreign visas makes it hard to hire the top foreign guy and practically requires you to hire the mediocre guy just because of where they're from?

Comment: Re:OK, NOW I'm pissed. (Score 1) 402

So, what, I'm supposed to sit back and accept an attitude of 'fuck U.S. workers, they all suck, we'll hire from overseas because they're better'?

That's not what he said. He said the best workers are not ALL from the USA. Guess what? He's dead goddamn right and who the hell are you to get pissed off because someone who runs a business pointed out the obvious, bleeding truth - America does not have a monopoly on software engineering talent, far from it? That means it's totally expected and understandable that given a choice between some American workers and some foreign workers, that employer might legitimately prefer the foreign workers because they are better than you are?

If this makes you mad then you need to learn about anger management. If you think it's all about working cheaper (which US law makes illegal anyway) then you need to get your head out of your ass and realise that foreign workers are hassle, can be expensive, and can still be worth it if they are better than you.

Comment: Re:"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture (Score 1) 402

Tech skills are hard to objectively verify. Technical results are hard to objectively verify. We collectively proxy that by having lots of tests, competitions, selection, and other heuristics. But that's not a symptom of us respecting skill more than other jobs(maybe more than other specific office jobs, but not more than lawyers, doctors, manufacturing technicians, similar things), it's a symptom of it being really hard to tell.

How many technical interviews have you done, as an interviewer, in your life?

I have done about 220. Evaluating technical skills is dramatically easier than evaluating many other types of skill, in particular, it's a lot easier than evaluating skills in management, marketing, customer service .... anything with a large component of soft, people skills. You can ask a technical person to achieve a very specific, tightly scoped technical task during an interview and if you know the question well quickly get a feel for how good they really are. I wouldn't want a hiring decision to be made based on just one interview, but in the hands of a good interview it still yields valuable data. For someone without specific technical skills you end up having to rely on much vaguer and more gamaeble questions like "Tell me about a time you overcame a problem of type ", the answers to which are both hard to verify and easily manipulated by people who want to make themselves look good.

I'm afraid I must agree with the original statement. The difference between someone who is merely OK and is great, well, that's huge. Someone who is merely OK will come in to work each day and will (probably) resolve the bugs or implement the features you set them. They will probably not come up with a solution that puts you ahead of the pack. They may waste large amounts of time on trivial things or produce something that sucks because they are only familiar with technology X but that's a poor fit for problem Y. Their technical judgement may be flaky - in the worst case you will have to spend a lot of time double checking what they're doing, yet they will start demanding more responsibility because they've stuck around for a while. The very best will teach you algorithms and techniques you never knew about. They'll come up with the unique feature that makes you stand out from the competition. They'll be fun to work with and help you recruit other great people. The difference is not to be sneered at.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 402

When Google offered me a job, I could not believe how little they wanted to pay me. 67% of what I was making at a megabank

Er, you could probably replace "Google" in that sentence with any company. You're comparing your salary to one at a fucking bank, companies so famous for absurd compensation packages that it triggered street protests ....

Comment: Re:Feeding the PR engine, (Score 1) 402

Beside, best techs from other countries are already in demand at home, no need for them to move. "The best" is not someone US would get from H1B visa program.

Reality check: tech companies hire all sorts of people in all sorts of places for all sorts of reasons.

Back in 2006 I got a job with Google SRE (at the age of 22) and they gave me a choice of locations. I chose California. But it was 2006 and the economy was booming, and that year they hit the H1B visa cap. I wasn't considered important enough to use up one of the last H1Bs they had (fair enough), so ended up moving to Switzerland instead. Over the following years I was promoted several times, invented a major new spam filtering technology they now use on all their biggest products, and earned a hell of a lot of money. Which I spent in Switzerland. I left in January to form my own company, although Google wanted me to stay.

Had I obtained an H1B, I would probably have done substantially similar things in the USA, but thanks to attitudes like yours that wasn't possible. I'm not complaining though. Having spent plenty of time in the Valley I came to appreciate my luck in not ending up there. Why would I want to live in a suburban desert like the bay area, or San Francisco where it seems the local population viscerally hates tech workers, when I can live ten minutes walk from a lake so clean people swim in it every day during summer and the local population still thinks Google is cool?

Looking back, I got lucky that I was denied an H1B. But economically speaking that was Switzerland's gain and America's loss.

Comment: Re:OPSEC (Score 1) 113

by IamTheRealMike (#47730727) Attached to: NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

If you RTFA you'll see that Lewman has zero evidence for this assertion. The headline paints it as a statement of fact but in reality all Lewman knows is there are people who appear to be reading the source code and reporting bugs anonymously. That's it. They could be NSA/GCHQ moles. Or, more likely, they could be anonymity fans who like security audit work. They really have no idea.

Counting in binary is just like counting in decimal -- if you are all thumbs. -- Glaser and Way

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