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Comment: Re:Not seeing the issue here (Score 1) 198

by grcumb (#48649949) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

Bingo. You're absolutely correct.

"I've got three witnesses that put you there, DNA evidence, and some video with someone wearing jeans and a white hoodie, just like you wear, though the face isn't visable. You'll get the death penalty. If you give me a confession, we can get it down to manslaughter. First offense. You'll probably just get probation. Here's some paper."

You might like to look up the difference between coercion and deception. One of them is almost always a crime; the other, not so much.

Comment: Re:been there, done that (Score 2) 279

by grcumb (#48614815) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

You're not a liberal arts major, by any chance, are you? 'Cuz one thing STEM tries to do is kill the belief that an anecdote counters data.

Why yes, I am a liberal arts major, who studied classical logic, among other things. I was responding to the assertion that 'most' liberal arts majors ended up as lowly restaurant workers. I countered that by asserting a) that restaurant workers are not so lowly as characterised; b) that drawing general conclusions about people's prospects based on their education does not bear out, particularly where some of the more respected and influential jobs are concerned; and c) that in a number of cases, a liberal arts education is a precursor to the kind of work that most people can only dream about.

You see, I was actually not making a positive argument so much as rebutting (and refuting) someone else's crass, inaccurate and unsubstantiated assertion that a liberal arts degree is valueless. Shocking, isn't it, to see a STEM major failing so badly at applying basic logic?

But yeah, the plural of anecdote is not always data.

P.S. For the humour-impaired: I'm a keyboard monkey, too. A liberal arts educated keyboard monkey.

Comment: Re:been there, done that (Score 3, Funny) 279

by grcumb (#48612745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

I second this comment. besides teaching college which will probably involve a graduate degree, most of thejobs with a liberal arts degree involve asking "Do you want fries with that?"

Two things:

First - I supported myself for a decade working in bars and restaurants. There are more interesting people living interesting lives employed in that sector than just about any other.

Second - Ridley Scott went to art college. Peter Jackson was self-taught. James Cameron was a truck driver. The people who have done more to shape your vision than you're likely able to realise followed no discernible pattern of behaviour. I'd advise you to save your derision until someone's earned it.

Case in point: One 'liberal arts' friend of mine plays the king of the White Walkers on GoT. Another works on The Daily Show. How's your job look now, keyboard monkey?

Comment: Re:been there, done that (Score 1) 279

by grcumb (#48612645) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

Have an English degree, found it useless. went back got my BSEE, been employed as such ever since. short version, go back and get your degree.

Did a double major in Theatre and English Literature. After 20 years of gainful employment in systems software development and consulting, I'm now CTO at an international think tank. I also know the value of capitalisation and punctuation.

Short version: It's horses for courses; reflect carefully, then do what you feel is best. If you're smart, the real determining factor is how hard you're willing to work, and how well you continue to learn.

Comment: Re:please keep closed! (Score 0) 50

by grcumb (#48597329) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source Cloud Framework Behind Halo 4 Services

I disagree. Encapsulation and abstraction of complexity is natural and humans are great at breaking complexity apart and making the common-man able to accomplish what was one impossible.

No dispute there. The problem, though, is not that we make easy things simple and hard things possible (pace, Larry Wall). It's that we have of late developed a tendency to simplify too far. Microsoft is famous for making systems administration and certain types of programming 'click-and-drool' easy. And hyperbole aside, the cost to society of the half-competent people who found gainful employment due to this charade can be measured in the many billions.

You're absolutely right in that commercial flying is safer than ever, notwithstanding the tendency in airlines to pressure senior pilots out in favour of cheaper, younger staff. And those working in HFT would likely be wreaking havoc by other means if they didn't have software and fibre-optics to enable them. I guess my tongue hadn't entirely left my cheek when I wrote that last para.

BUT... Microsoft has contributed significantly to a general downward trend in the quality of software and systems integrity. And they've done so by marketing the idea that with the right tools, tool users can be commoditised. And that really, really sucks.

Comment: Re:please keep closed! (Score 1) 50

by grcumb (#48597007) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source Cloud Framework Behind Halo 4 Services

Whatever it is that made Halo 4 (cloud-based or otherwise) should remain closed. Or better yet, incinerate it.

Agreed. 'Software that makes it easy for non-experts to do expert tasks' will one day be recognised for its role in causing the downfall of civilisation as we know it. By then, of course, it will be too late.

Some among you may think that's overstating things. Some among you are also .NET developers, so what do you know?

Seriously, though: From the Airbus crash to high frequency trading to the Sony hack, examples abound of how enabling and empowering mediocrity is the first ingredient of every modern tragedy.

Comment: Re:Sounds like they should ban the cabbies (Score 3, Informative) 295

by jcr (#48596967) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

That's what they would do if they had a functioning police department or legal system in France, but they haven't had that for many years. You might remember that they had a plague of thugs setting cars on fire a year or so ago, and the cops didn't even try to arrest any of them.

-jcr

Comment: That has always been the case. (Score 1) 465

by jcr (#48590173) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

Greenpeace is not, and has NEVER been an environmental organization. From the very beginning, they have been a marketing organization abusing the public's sympathy to environmental concerns to suck up contributions that would otherwise have gone to people doing real work to improve the environment.

If you care about pollution, deforestation, preserving wildlife, etc, contribute to Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and your local environmental organizations.

-jcr

Comment: Watch it with the broad brush there.. (Score 1) 465

by jcr (#48590149) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

At the most, some dozen people or so were involved in this latest Greenpeace vandalism stunt, and you're using that to blame tens of millions of people. There have been obnoxious people in every generation since mankind evolved, and they have always been vastly outnumbered by decent people.

-jcr

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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