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Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 2) 660

by lgw (#47967695) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

The worst thing I am reading in these comments is basically "I don't understand the summary". If this is you, you are part of the problem. You think you know what science is, and this article is confusing because you're wrong and can't even recognize what you're wrong about. If you don't understand, you need to stop talking about science until you do. You are damaging the cause for science by treating it like a belief system, so just stop. The more that people like you claim that God is made obsolete by science, the more that everyone else thinks that science is just like another religion.

Ever so much: this!

I meet people frequently who believe firmly in evolution, but don't understand why it's a good model. They take in on faith, because it's what the wise men told them. They don't understand why frequently-made creationist claims are wrong. They have some vaguely-remembered examples of evolution that are actually false. C'mon, it's all there in the FAQ, just takes a few hours of your time to make your belief in evolution founded in science, not in faith.

But no one cares. It's not about science. It's about tribal identification. You don't need any arguemnts for evolution - duh, it's what smart people believe! If you don't believe it, you're not a smart people!

You see the same thing with people who have a religious faith in global warming, but again it's not grounded in anything. They take in on faith, because it's what the wise men told them. They may have some vague idea about CO2 and greenhouses, but that's about it. (Protip: greenhouses don't work by blocking IR radiation, they work by blocking convection). They have no idea how the CO2 in the upper atmosphere getting warmer makes the surface temp higher, but who cares? It's all about tribal identification, dummy, and this is what the smart people believe! Aren't you a smart people?

Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 1) 660

by lgw (#47967517) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Science must take on faith a set of axioms, ones we assume to be true because otherwise we couldn't do science (basically: that inductive reasoning works), but that we have no a priori argument for, and likely cannot make any argument for.

Effectively, all science can every say is "assuming these common axioms, then what follows is ...". And that's fine. Science simply isn't about capital-T Truth. Science is about reliable and accurate predictions.

Comment: Re:Change Jobs (Score 1) 271

by lgw (#47966437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

. An IT group that is stretched too thin, asked to do too many things, or held accountable for things beyond its control, and has therefore devised methods to insulate itself from complaints ... and accountability.

Who's talking about "IT"? I'm talking about software development. If you don't have those things I listed, you're doing it wrong - this is an engineering field now, the days of "seat of your pants" are past us.

But process that gets in your way is a sure sign of bad management. With the right tools, everything conspires to let teams work together faster, with no "who broke the build?" and no integration explosion at the end of large projects (a.k.a, the second 90% of the schedule).

Accountability is orthogonal to all of this.

Comment: Re:Trustworthy Computing was a sham (Score 1) 98

by lgw (#47952045) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

The engineers working on Windows 8 knew the Metro UI was crap for the PC. The usability studies all showed that the Metro UI was crap for the PC. It was senior management that forced the issue over the protests of those involved.

The reason I have hope for MS yet is the result from all that. The entire management chain responsible for that, right through the CEO, all of them gone. Gates, Ballmer, Larson-Green, and middle managers below her well fired or moved away from PC computing. Someone, somewhere, decided enough was enough.

Will the new guy be better? Who knows. But we've had decision after decision that left consumers saying "WTF?" being rolled back, starting with firing that X-Box VP whp insulted the customer base and reversing his decisions on used games and always-on DRM and hopefully through the restoration of the start menu. Of course, if Windows 9 ends up sucking, MS is as dead as a very dead thing.

Comment: Re:Treacherous Computing (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by lgw (#47952015) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

Had TC been an open standard, it could have been a great thing. Think: locking down one VM such that no virus can taint it, which you can then use to scan the rest of the system with assurance that the results are valid.

But instead it was a joke. I was doing standards work while the TC "standard" was being hammered out, and while they were in the same Hotel as real ISO standards work, you had to be there from a member company and sign an NDA to even listen to the discussions. We didn't take them seriously (the normal ISO/INCITS rules are that anyone who shows up can participate, you only need to be from a paying company to vote, and that minutes are always public).

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 324

by lgw (#47951957) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Forest coverage of America has grown quite a bit over the past 50 years because so much farmland - most of it, in fact - has been abandoned as unneeded to feed us, or to saturate the export market. By far the majority of arable land is no longer cultivated, out of lack of need, unless you count tree farms.

Comment: Re:Change Jobs (Score 3, Insightful) 271

by lgw (#47950377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I have found that asking the following about a potential workplace is a remarkably good predictor of the entire work culture and acceptability for devs:
* What version control tool is used
* What bug tracking system is used
* What technological measures are in place to prevent anyone breaking the build, with no need to back out changes
* What automated testing infrastructure is in place, and are new check-ins automatically sanity-checked immediately

You can really learn a lot from the tools used. Are the tools in place those that devs would choose, or some horrible crap sold to management by a good sales guy? Did projects to make dev life better by automating the programmer workflow get funded, or get blocked? How short-sighted is management when it comes to productivity?

Software dev as an industry is out of the downturn. Demand is way ahead of supply right now, mostly because devs still think there's no point in looking. Well, times have changed, and a dev has a lot of "pricing power" right now. E.g., my team has quite a few open positions, no one with experience seems to be looking, and we're definitely not going to lose anyone qualified we actually manage to find due to being cheap!

Most companies do not do this, they force people into management,

Sign of an engineering field that hasn't matured yet. Most big companies do have engineering promotion paths all the way up to VP-equivalent now, so that's something, but you still don't see as many devs in paygrades equivalent to senior management as you see senior dev managers. They're not really taking that career path as seriously as high-tech "real engineering" jobs yet. But, yeah, at least find a place that has a non-management paygrade above the one you're applying for!

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 324

by lgw (#47950215) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

We can trivially feed 11 billion today. The farmland once used in America alone could do it (though that would be a bad approach for many reasons).

Your ideas about nutrition are way off. Calories are key to survival, and meat is not where you get calories, carbs are. Meat is a tasty luxury that requires more farmland per meal than eating vegetarian.

Fresh-water availability, as I already said, is only an issue in large cities that insist on drawing down their aquifers (well, and a few low-population areas with regular drought). Cities tap their aquifers only because it's cheap compared to proper sewage reprocessing. No magic technology required, just infrastructure spending. There are very few big cities that actually lack the surface water (e.g., Dubai), but they have desalination already. Wikipedia has some notes on the plants currently under construction and operating around the world. Again, it's not high-tech, as long as you're on the coast.

nd while economic development might wind up with individual families having fewer kids, that doesn't mean total population goes down

Native-born net population change is either negative or barely positive in every industrialized nation. Many places with high barriers to immigration are in population collapse right now (e.g., Japan). America is only growing due to immigration. It's a common pattern, well, researched and well understood. People have enough kids such that enough survive to help them in old age. Pre-industrialization, that's 10 or more. Post-industrialization that's 2-3, or fewer once a good retirement safety net is in place. There's a one-generation blip seen in most places during industrialization when people are still having 10 kids, but all of them survive to adulthood, so population explodes.

The news that population was expected to peak at 11 billion is at least 10 years old - not sure why it's a /. story, but we do like old news here.

Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 1) 319

by lgw (#47950129) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

Sure, sure, preventing discrimination is good, but that's a somewhat limited excursion into regulating who can do business that ensures more people can participate in the economy. But what we usually see is government doing the opposite granting monopoly, and otherwise excluding people form the market, instead of busting trusts and otherwise enabling participation.

We see this in spades in the entertainment industry in the US, with cable monopolies being granted like localities were competing in "monopoly granting" as an Olympic sport or something.

But anyway, none of that has anything to do with giving the government access to what books you read, or what movies you watch, or the like. Governments just need to stay the Hell away from that data, even if it would be convenient for the government, well, too bad!

Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 2) 319

by lgw (#47948625) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

No, really, why is it anyone's business at all?

Governments' legitimate interest in regulation is in product safety and fraud prevention, not in deciding who gets to do business with whom and at what price.

We've had far too many "regulation: good vs bad?" debates here on /., and we should really stop that, as that's a silly question. The interesting question is "regulation: what scope?".

Is there any legitimate reason for a government regulatory body to inspect and control subscriber lists for an entertainment product? Any good reason for it to examine who has watched what? I can think of only evil reasons: to target people with the wrong tastes in (legal) entertainment as anti-government dissidents: likely troublemakers to take pre-emptive action against. That's an old song that many governments have seen before, and one we don't need ot hear in Canada or the US!

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 324

by lgw (#47940409) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

We could easily feed 11 million today - modern farming is really quite efficient. No miracle new technology needed.

Water is a problem mostly in older large cities that have been wantonly drawing down local aquifers faster than they naturally refill. But since that's not the only way to get water, it's just a matter if infrastructure cost, not of some miracle new technology.

However - Africa's population quadrupling is really going to suck, as in most areas the technology that makes high population density easy in the West just isn't there. 86 years is a long time, though, time for plenty of economic development. And that not only makes it practical to support higher populations, it reliably winds up with people having fewer kids.

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 1) 952

by lgw (#47931573) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Life is not black and white. Actions are not ever wholly good nor evil. There is always evil associated with war, or violence in general, which is why deterrence is so much better. But ISIS is pretty damned close to "wholly evil", and military action against them could well be better on balance than giving them free reign.

To quote John Kerry, recently taking Code Pink to task for protesting a military response to ISIS:

âoeyou ought to care about fighting ISIL because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. And they believe women shouldnâ(TM)t have an education ...

Thereâ(TM)s no negotiation with ISIL, thereâ(TM)s nothing to negotiate. And theyâ(TM)re not offering anyone healthcare of any kind. You know, theyâ(TM)re not offering education of any kind. For a whole philosophy or idea or a cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age, theyâ(TM)re cold-blooded killers, marauding across the Middle East, making a mockery of a peaceful religion.

And thatâ(TM)s precisely why we are building a coalition to stop them from denying the women and the girls and the people of Iraq the very future that they yearned for.

It would be a great moral flaw for us to simply let ISIS do what it wills. They are the worst sort of theocracy: the sort that's willing to ignore the moral code of their own religion, using it only as a crutch for power.

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 3, Insightful) 952

by lgw (#47930357) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

In 1953 the percentage of GDP from manufacturing was 28%. In 2012 it was at 12%. I'd call that a drop.

Were you really confused by this, or are you just trolling now?
In 1953 US GDP was ~$2.5 T in 2009 dollars. Today it's ~$16T in 2009 dollars.

Can you see now that US manufacturing has grown significantly? The rest of the economy just grew faster, shifting our focus over the years. Much the same happened with farming before that. Technology is neat that way.

What real threat do any of these nations pose?

Again, appearance of strength is important. People who are a threat seeing the US as weak and starting a war would be a catastrophe from any moral perspective. We do get judged, like it or not, by whether minor player can shake their fists at us without consequence. Was is a surprise to you that Russia is getting froggy again (occasionally hopping across its borders) over the past decade?

Geopolitics aside, some would say that a strong man who sees a horrific crime that he has the strength to stop has the moral responsibility to do so. ISIS has conquered territory by force of arms - do we want to allow that sort of thing to be acceptable on the world stage again? The way ISIS is treating their conquered subjects is horrific and appalling, and we should probably put a stop to it.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton