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Comment Re:OMFG ... (Score 1) 695

The pig flu pandemic is evil and will be the end of the world. ... .

WHO said no such thing in any of those incidents. Only the voices in your head are saying this. WHO has simply said that it is a public health emergency of international concern with the potential for a pandemic. Cases have now been reported in several countries, and it has killed some young, otherwise healthy people so it is a no brainer that it bears watching, and giving public health officials around the world a heads up is a reasonable precaution. No one has said you need to be quarantined, take anti-virals, or be vaccinated. All they've said so far is "Hey, if you are a health care provider keep an eye out for this."

I despair for my species since so many of us seem incapable of rationally responding to mild, reasonably stated warnings. We seem to dismiss them out of hand, or exaggerate them into "OMG, it's the end of the world as we know it.".

Comment Re:Paying $500 for an OS that works, however... (Score 1) 1147

With NeXT Step and MacOS, the config is in binary files you can't edit except with the pretty pointy clicky tools, so when the user has buggered the machine to the point where the pointy clicky stuff won't run (which was fairly easy on NeXT Step but, to be fair, seems to be a bit harder with MacOS XX

Are you sure about that? My own history goes back to UNIX v7 on the PDP-11/70. I'm typing this on a Mac now, and it seems to have many of the same text configuration files I'm used to seeing. The bundles the Mac used to use are now directories, and the configuration files inside them all seem to be XML which I have no problem editing in vim in single user mode. Can you point me to one of these binary configuration files?

Comment Don't sweat it too much. (Score 1) 569

It's one thing being able to write simple programs for class assignments, but those are quite different from writing something as complex as the Linux kernel or a multi-threaded banking app.

Developing in-depth expertise in a language is a great idea, definitely you should follow through on that. However you can ratchet down your anxiety level a bit. Your first job will not be to write the Linux kernel or a multi-threaded banking app from scratch. If you are lucky and talented your first job will be to add some feature to the Linux kernel or an existing multi-threaded banking up. You'll be able to study other people's code, see how they did things, and follow their example. If you find sections of code you don't understand, you pull out the language and API references, or if you are really luck, go down the hall and get tutored by the person who originally wrote it. I mean even Linus didn't write the Linux kernel as it exists now from scratch. If you are not so lucky or talented you'll be writing a CRUD application that won't tax even your existing language skills, though it may tax your organizational skills.

There is a trade-off in picking which language to specialize in. The majority of jobs are probably in Java and .Net, but those languages also have the largest supply of programmers. There are fewer jobs for FORTRAN and C, but there are also fewer programmers qualified for those jobs. To some extent it will balance out, so you can suit yourself. One genuine limitation is that you may be limited to working in one of the major tech centers if you go with one of the non-commodity languages.

Comment Re:I don't know the answers to any of those questi (Score 1) 1038

I agree with the premise (science education sucks) but not with how they "proved" it (by asking people to recall facts.) What I expect people to have is the ability to think critically and hopefully also an understanding of the scientific method.

Every argument has assumptions. Given invalid assumptions, you can make a completely correct and logical argument that leads to utter nonsense. If you can't call on a background of factual knowledge then you don't have a prayer of spotting the invalid assumptions that folks will try to foist on you. Obviously you can't know everything, but the more facts you do know, the better off you'll be. You can't simply depend on Wikipedia to fill in facts as you need them, anymore then you can speak French simply by carrying around a French Grammar and a French dictionary.

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