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Submission + - Programming in schools (

kyrsjo writes: The Economist has an article on how information technology — the real stuff, not just button-pushing — is making it's way back to schools across the world. As the article argues: "Digital technology is now so ubiquitous that many think a rounded education requires a grounding in this subject just as much as in biology, chemistry or physics."

In today's society, teaching computer science in schools is absolutely necessary, and that means getting a real understanding of computers and how they work. That requires working with algorithms and programming, not just learning which buttons to push in the program that the school happened to use.

Comment Re:Mike Rowe has a lot to say on this (Score 1) 367

going to a 4 year college makes it more likely they will be successful. Of course, they needs to be smart about what they do.

Your second sentence is really really important, you can't just ignore that. Just telling them to blindly go to college is a bad idea.

If going into a trade is trivial why is there a shortage of skilled tradespeople?

Comment Mike Rowe has a lot to say on this (Score 1) 367

Check out what Mike Rowe has to say about this problem, he has some really great insight.

Now my thoughts: Unfortunately we as a society look down on skilled trades. I remember when I was 16 my dad asked me if I wanted to work with my back or with my brain, implying that there was something wrong with skilled labor. If you show aptitude for math or science in High School your counselor will dissuade you from shop or auto repair and push you into AP math and science with the intent of you going to get a STEM degree. Our public school systems, especially the wealthy ones, almost exclusively push 4 year universities as the only option to graduating seniors.

Furthermore, there are a lot of "help the kids in the inner city" teaching programs where the soul goal is to get kids from impoverished school districts into 4 year colleges. These organizations are doing some good work but I have to strongly disagree that the only or even best way to break the cycle of poverty is to force someone into a 4 year university while completely and intentionally ignoring the many skilled trades that person could pursue. A kid with a apprenticeship in welding or high tech manufacturing is going to be able to change his life in a much more positive way than a kid with a degree in comparative lit and $60,000 in student debt. These programs really need to offer a more complete picture of the options facing graduating high school students.

American culture has promoted the 4 year university as the "only" way to be successful for decades. Blame the liberals, blame the academics, blame the politicians, blame the student loan companies, blame whoever. We have a shortage of skilled labor because we as a nation have treated skilled labors as a lower caste for years.

Comment Can't just quit every time (Score 1) 183

I have worked on embedded machines that implemented no security. My boss said "our competitors don't worry about security why should we?" I said because someone could die. It isn't that hard to envision a scenario where someone could compromise our system and render it inoperable because our lack of security.

Guess what, I was a junior engineer with no pull on a project that was do or die for the business. I finished and quit as soon as possible. Not everyone can do that. This isn't a software engineer's problem, it is a business problem.

Comment Not our education system (Score 3, Interesting) 306

You can't blame everything on our education system.

First, the majority of people do not possess the ability to think critically. You can't teach that skill. You can try to foster what ability a person might have but you can't turn someone with no ability to think critically into someone who exemplifies that ability. By middle school someone either can think for themselves or they can't.

Second, why is everything the education systems fault? Why don't parents encourage their children to think critically? Why aren't parents responsible for enriching their child's development so that they develop the skills needed to succeed.

Reality check: not all teachers think critically. There are a lot of people of average to below average intelligence / critical thinking ability that are teachers. Want great teachers? Do you want the cream of the crop? Then pay them to deal with your whiny privileged spawn instead of the much more glamorous and lucrative jobs they have. Instead of attracting the best talent we have states actively eroding teacher benefits which drives the talent away and opens the door for Teach for America type excuses for real teachers.

Yes I agree there are a ton of people in IT and every other profession who completely lack the ability to think critically.

No I do not blame "our education system"

Submission + - Survey: 56 Percent of U.S. Developers Expect To Become Millionaires ( 1

msmoriarty writes: According to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S.-based software developers, 56 percent expect to become millionaires in their lifetime. 66 percent also said they expect to get raises in the next year, despite the current state of the economy. Note that some of the other findings of the study (scroll to bulleted list) seem overly positive: 84 percent said they believe they are paid what they're worth, 95 percent report they feel they are "one of the most valued employees at their organization," and 80 percent said that "outsourcing has been a positive factor in the quality of work at their organization."

Comment News? (Score 4, Insightful) 133

This would have been news if Comcast didn't give every member of congress that had anything to do with their merger money.

People don't care anymore. The people in power have switched the conversation from us (regular people) vs them (those in positions of power) into us ("democrats") vs us ("republicans"). If you point out that huge corporations bribe congress someone will point out that huge unions bribe congress. If you point out that the oil/gas sectors bribe republicans someone will point out that hollywood bribes democrats. We can't have a conversation about how it is wrong for any special interest to have that much influence just because of $ because we are too busy beating each other over the head.

The argument people have now is: "my special interest should be lobbying, your special interest shouldn't".

Comment Re:Back up your vote with your wallet (Score 1) 195

My point is that many individuals form a collective. If every person says that individual economic pressure isn't worth it then the collective never grows large enough to make a difference. It's the same thing that happens with voting for third parties, people do not think that their vote matters so they either don't vote or throw it away.

How many thousands of people voted in this survey? If half of them boycotted the companies they voted for for the period of one year the companies would take notice.

Comment Re:Back up your vote with your wallet (Score 1) 195

Exactly, it's near impossible. And these companies are lobbying hard to remove options that allow consumers to vote with their wallets. We need more than just individual economic pressure to have any realistic impact on companies this big.

Another problem is that people really underestimate individual economic pressure. I know too many people my age (mid 20s) who automatically give up and say that there is no way they can make a difference so why even try. They expect someone else to make the sacrifice and work to address the problem. Look at Target's profits in the wake of their little credit card fiasco:

The widespread theft of Target customer data had a significant impact on the company’s profit, which fell more than 40 percent in the fourth quarter, the retailer reported on Wednesday. The company said net earnings were $520 million in the quarter, down 46 percent from the same period a year earlier, when earnings were $961 million.

Source: New York Times

These companies don't magically make money regardless of what consumers do, they make money because consumers willingly spend money with them. It seems as if lots of people just stopped going to Target after the breach was discovered. Explain why the same thing couldn't happen with Wal-Mart or EA?

Comment Back up your vote with your wallet (Score 3, Insightful) 195

I know its near impossible with a few of these companies since they are oligarchies but I feel that in order to vote for one of these companies you also should make a personal pledge to avoid doing business with the companies you vote for.

One big problem here is that on one hand people say EA is the worst company in America and then turn around and go out and buy the latest EA game. Companies will listen, but only if you affect them where it matters: the bottom line. No one at these companies gives a shit about this survey.

Submission + - More on the Disposable Tech Worker ( 1

Jim_Austin writes: At a press conference this week, in response to a question by a Science Careers reporter, Scott Corley, the Executive Director of immigration-reform group Compete America, argued that retraining workers doesn't make sense for IT companies. For the company, he argued, H-1B guest workers are a much better choice. "It's not easy to retrain people," Corley said. "The further you get away from your education the less knowledge you have of the new technologies, and technology is always moving forward."

Submission + - The Air Force Isn't Ready to Replace the A-10 ( 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Would you rather have a Swiss Army knife or a tire iron? Context is, of course, everything, so imagine that your car has been getting flats like crazy, and the Swiss Army knife costs three times as much as the tire iron. Facing a round of deep budget cuts, the Department of Defense is opting for the Swiss Army knife, which is why its planning to ground the A-10 Thunderbolt II—called the "Air Force's most effective weapon"—in favor of long-delayed, over budget, under performing F-35, known as "the stealth fighter...designed for no one."

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a budget proposal to shrink the size of the armed forces to their smallest size in decades. Under the budget as proposed, the Air Force's entire fleet of 350 A-10s would be retired in order to save $3.5 billion over five years, and its former combat roles will be handed over to the newer F-35joint strike fighterand the growing drone fleet.

"The A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield," Hagel said. "It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses."

Submission + - Consumerist releases bracket for 2014 worst company in America

bi$hop writes: The Consumerist is proud to present the first round match-ups for this year’s Worst Company in America tournament!

There are several returning competitors, including previous champs EA and Comcast, three-time runner-up (and sort of winner from when it acquired Countrywide) Bank of America, the perennially hated Ticketmaster and PayPal (with their respective corporate counterparts LiveNation and eBay). There are also some new names on the list, like Koch Industries and lawsuit-happy seed company Monsanto. There’s also SeaWorld making a splash on WCIA 2014, presumably because people have been watching that Blackfish documentary.

Voting will begin tomorrow, March 19...

Comment Student loans (Score 1) 225

If I graduate with a lot of student debt and my choice is between: working for a company that benefits humanity but pays little, or, working for a company that makes shitty apps for idiots to play with but pays very well what is the most rational choice?

The middle class in America is fucked. And 99% of those people who could "help cure cancer" would end up there if they chose to pursue more altruistic careers. Its a rat race and if you are smart and motivated and at prestigious school I think the path towards $$ is always going to be the most attractive.

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