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Trick or Treatment 713

brothke writes "The recent collapse of financial companies occurred in part because their operations were run like a black box. For many years, alternative medicine has similarly operated in the shadows with its own set of black boxes. In Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD, break open that box, and show with devastating clarity and accuracy, that the box is for the most part empty." Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review.

Comment Re:A lawsuit? (Score 1) 835

Funny, in Scandinavia when you apply for a job (at least at university), each applicant gets a list of every applicant, their names, ages, sexes and qualifications.

Really? So exactly why does the person's name (which may indicate race and religion) and sex need to be included? I don't, on principle, think it's wrong to see the other applicants' resumes, but why should name and sex be included? What possible good could come of this? I can see much harm and no good.

BTW, as a guy who got a high level IT position at 18 years old without college, I don't think age is necessarily an indicator of competence, but I'm willing to concede that one could make a case for it.

Businesses

Interviewing Experienced IT People? 835

thricenightly writes "After more than 20 years in IT I've learned that the most valuable people in a team are frequently the old timers. Young pups straight out of college might (think they) know all the latest buzzwords and techniques, but in the real world, where getting working products delivered on time and on budget is of paramount importance, people who have been doing the job for a decade or two tend to be the people I'd rather be working alongside. I've recently been elevated to a position where I get to interview and choose those who get hired in my department. Although I'm very much focused on choosing the right person for the role regardless of age, experience or whatever, it's probably fair to say the more mature applicants will get a more sympathetic hearing from me than they might from most other interviewers for IT roles. The question is, what do I ask older applicants to get them to demonstrate the value of their experience? My current gambit is something like 'IT is seen as a young man's game. My next applicant after you is 23 years old. What do you know that he doesn't?' This gets responses ranging from the vague to the truly enlightened. All next week I'm interviewing for a number of senior software designer and developer roles. What should I be asking of the more experienced applicants, and what responses should I be looking out for?"
Programming

Learn a Foreign Language As an Engineer? 1021

Ben B writes "I'm working on an undergraduate degree in computer engineering in the US, and I'm a native English-speaking citizen. In fact, English is the only language that I know. Maybe it's not the same at other schools, but for the engineering program at mine, a foreign language is not required. If my plans are to one day be involved in research, is it worth my time to learn a foreign language? If so, which one?" Learning something new is almost never a waste of time, but how much energy have others found worthwhile to expend with all of the programming/math/tech type courses to be had at a large university?
The Internet

YouTube Must Give All User Histories To Viacom 778

psyopper writes "Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users' names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday. Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users' privacy, the judge's ruling (.pdf) described that argument as 'speculative' and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four terabyte hard drives." Update: 07/03 18:05 GMT by T : Brian Aker, now of MySQL but long ago Slashdot's "database thug," writes a journal entry on how companies could intelligently treat such potentially sensitive user data.
Data Storage

FreeBSD Begins Switch to Subversion 120

An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD Project has begun the switch of its source code management system from CVS to Subversion. At this point in time, FreeBSD's developers are making changes to the base system in the Subversion repository. We have a replication system in place that exports our work to the legacy CVS tree on a continuous basis. People who are using our extensive CVS based distribution network (including anoncvs, CVSup, cvsweb, ftp) will not be interrupted by our work-in-progress. We are committed to maintaining the existing CVS based distribution system for at least the support lifetime of all existing 'stable' branches. Security and errata patches will continue to be made available in their usual CVS locations."
Math

Party Ideas For Math Nerds? 529

rbf writes "A girl I like at my university, a graduate student in mathematics, will be having a birthday next month. She had thought of throwing a nerd-themed party — show up with tape on your glasses, pants hiked up, etc. However, she decided against it because most of her friends are math nerds and wouldn't even have to dress up! So my question for the community is: What fun party ideas would appeal to a group of mostly math-major nerds?"
AMD

AMD To Shed 10% of Its Workforce 276

stress_life writes "Recent rumors about AMD firing 5% of its workforce proved to be understated. AMD just announced that the company is going to deliver pink slips to 1600-1700 workers, or around 10% of its employees. AMD needs revenue of $2 billion per quarter, but Q1'08 is expected to come in around $1.5 billion. These firings have to be complete by Q3'08, the quarter by which Hector Ruiz promised to be profitable." We most recently discussed AMD's struggles in February.
Microsoft

Vista is Slower, But XP Is Still Dying 573

An anonymous reader writes "Though the Redmond software giant may be extending the lifetime of XP on low-end laptops, the end is nigh for the aging OS. That extension makes perfect sense, as recent studies have shown XP is far faster than Vista across a number of platforms. Still, Microsoft is 'sticking to its guns' when it comes to drop-dates for most other uses of the XP operating system. 'There are several dates that apply, but the one you're probably thinking of is the June 30 deadline that Dix referred to. That's the last day when large computer makers -- the Dells, HPs and Lenovos of the world -- will be allowed to preinstall Windows XP on new PCs. It also marks the official end of XP as a retail product.'"
Music

RIAA Denies Hypocrisy in Royalties Dustup 85

Hairless ape writes "The RIAA is reacting to a story pointing out the group's hypocrisy in its attempts to have songwriter royalties lowered. The issue stems from attempts to get webcasters to pay fixed royalty rates. 'In short, the contention was that the RIAA wanted to pay a percentage of its revenue to songwriters as its profits have fallen, but pushed for a fixed per-stream when it came to earning money from webcasters.' The RIAA says that's not so, and that SoundExchange offered a similar model to webcasters. Either way, the rates sought by the two groups would have bankrupted many webcasters. 'Now you know; it wasn't about hypocrisy, but one of the seven deadly sins may still have been involved.'"

Endeavour Crew to Assemble Giant Robot, in Space 147

Frizzled writes "Part of the space shuttle crew's scheduled mission for this week is to assemble a massive robot which will 'rise like Frankenstein' from the shuttle's cargo bay. The robot, named Dextre, has 11-foot arms, a shoulder span of nearly 8 feet, a height of 12 feet, and was built by the Canadian Space Agency. 'Dextre can pivot at the waist, and has seven joints per arm. Its hands, or grippers, have built-in socket wrenches, cameras and lights. Only one arm is designed to move at a time to keep the robot stable and avoid a two-arm collision. The robot has no face or legs, and with its long arms certainly doesn't look human.'"
Google

Google Pulls Map Images At Pentagon's Request 217

Stony Stevenson alerts us to a little mixup in which a Google Street View crew requested and was granted access to a US military base. Images from inside the base (which was not identified in press reports) showed up online, and the Pentagon requested that they be pulled. Google complied within 24 hours. The military has now issued a blanket order to deny such photography requests in the future; for its part Google says the filming crew should never have asked.

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