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Comment taxes, civil servants, (Score 2) 328

My knowledge of Greek economics doesn't go much beyond NPR, but the changes needed seem pretty straightforward:

1. Reform civil service
2. Aggressively prosecute tax fraud
3. Tax church assessts (i.e. church either make is assets poductive or sells them to someone who will)

An angry coalition leftists and iconoclasts might be pretty good at 2 of these things. Maybe all 3?

Comment SOTU (Score 1) 200

I read that state of the union speeches were a big thing under President Franklin Roosevelt. I don't feel the content of speeches has been important in my life time. Maybe the pageantry is important?

The only thing I remember from a SOTU is the hydrogen economy and a man on Mars. It feels like I could make money betting against SOTU pronouncements. So why all the fuss?

Comment Re:Yeesh (Score 1) 584

I am the father of two girls. They are only 3 and 7. The older one wants to be an artist and the younger one wants to be a a fairy princess (when she wants to be anything at all).
Would I be remiss if I didn't introduce them to science and software? Yes.
Would I be flattered if they chose to follow in my footsteps career-wise? Yes, I would be flattered.
Will I use guilt, or gifts, or some other form of subtle coercion to force them down the STEM road? Absolutely not. It be would be selfish and egotistical of me to do that. As a father I want to encourage their curiosity and support them in the pursuit of their dreams. To expect that their interests and my interests must align is silly; I'm not out to make female Mini-Mes.

Comment Re: Given how most spend their time in college... (Score 2) 226

I'm with you for two reasons. First, a lot of enterprise IT is adding new fields, changing a web page or link, or changing a db connection. There is usually a legacy application that provides a framework into which changes can be retrofitted.

Second (and maybe a little of topic) was my experience working in Switzerland. Developers, business people, and such typically attended two year technical institutes. Those institutes graduated competent employees who formed the bulk of my co-workers. The system was very successful. A degree from an ETH was not a prerequisite for being a useful Dev.

Comment Re:Good attitude but rarely much aptitude (Score 1) 299

...not one of them is an actual geek... If it isn't something they're trained in they just don't do very well.

As a general comment, I'd say there is nothing wrong with that. It can be unreasonable to ask people to be good at something for which they have no training. I'd like to think I'm some kind of exception-- a person who can adroitly accomplish any odd ball request thrown at him. The truth is that I'm much more likely to be successful if I have been trained to do the work.

Comment White s p a c e is magic! (Score 1) 415

I found someone else who things so too:

Ok. Serious now. The white space debate has always intrigued me. I've been people really, really mad about attaching significance to white space. To some it is heresy. Personally, I don't care if the block delimiters are implied by non-visible characters or made explicit by visible characters. It reminds me of the Big-Endian/Little-Endian debate between Lilliput and Blefuscu.

Comment Re:R is better for non-programmers (Score 1) 143

I agree that R is better for non-programmers. R is a tool you can use to answer all kinds of questions. It is popular economists, psychologists, mathematicians and people who need a computer to get their work done.

I'm more of a computer person. R drives me nuts. To me, R feels like a hodge-podge of features that aggregated together over decades. Python is different. It has a Benevolent Dictator For Life and it feels cohesive. If Python is the Parthenon, then R is the Grand Bazaar. Your individual mileage may vary.

Comment Re:What about statistics vs calculus (Score 2) 155

I took trigonometry, calculus, and (later) differential equations and vector calculus. Integrating sin(2x) did not contribute enough to by education to be worth the effort.

As a computer programmer, I need discrete math for my job. (The only computer people I know using continuous math for their day jobs are in HPC /scientific computing). As a citizen, voter, and member of society, I need probability, statistics, and a good understanding of logical fallacies.

I'm just another jerk with an opinion, but I'd drop the trig and calculus curriculum in favor of discrete math and stats in secondary education. In post-secondary education, I like another poster's idea to teach calculus in the context of other disciplines (i.e. physics)... at the undergrad level for non-math majors. Or better, I'd run a controlled experiment with random sampling to determine the effects of a curriculum change.

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