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Comment Re:Are they teaching real CS? (Score 2) 168

If as Microsoft says, companies are having trouble finding people to do actual IT jobs (which pay better than teaching), how exactly are they're going to find people to teach programming to kids!?

(More so in the UK where they're cutting state funding on everything except bank bailouts and there is an expectation that every adult is a pedophile so people have to undergo highly-intrusive background checks for something as simple as doing a presentation to some school children - as some children books authors found out when they were invited to go to schools to talk about their books).

Nah, this is all about creating users of MS products, not creators of software.

Comment Re:The basis of computer science is logic (Score 2) 168

Imagine if most people actually understood maths, used logic and thought things through propertly: they would stop buying stuff they don't need with money they don't have and that would destroy Consumer Society.

Even more dangerous, they might become skeptics and actually question what they hear on TV, what politicians tell them or more in general, what are the motivations that figures in positions of authority have to say and do what they say and do.

We can't have that!

Comment Re:And this is surprising? (Score 4, Interesting) 346

Your expectation that the regulators exist to actually root out and punish fraud in the market is touching but quite naive, especially in light that regulators have done absolutelly nothing at all to punish market-mispractices by large companies in the last 20 years (and when they do something, the miniscule fines they impose are usually less than the profits made by the companies breaking the law).

Given the size of Facebook and that the lead bank in their IPO was Morgan Stanley, expect the SEC to do absolutelly nothing at all.

On the other hand, given that Facebook stock still has a Price-Earnings per share above 50 (the typical PE for high growth Tech companies is about 25), expect a further fall in price. A better explanation for the exodus of several high-level managers with over-bloated but meaningless titles just as they become allowed to sell their stock is that they've been holding off from leaving a drifting ship until they could get their paws on hard cash.

Comment This kinda explains the current problems in the UK (Score 1) 263

The UK is by far the most hypocritical place I've ever lived in with regards to honest feedback - around here the feedback you hear is always a 7 or an 8 on a scale of 10 (everything is great or wonderful, even when it's shit), to the point that if you comment that something was "nice" (i.e. a 6 out of 10), people feel insulted (you see, "nice" is what people say around here when they mean "not nice").

Coming from Holland (home to some of the most direct, straight-talking people in the face of the planet), the whole British Politness sounds majorly deceitful.

The worse thing is that they do this to the kids at school: every kid is a special person and they can't be told negative things, so they're all told how great they are and get good grades for bad work (around here, there is a huge amount of grade inflation in the national tests, to the point that getting the highest grade is common).

Unsurprisingly, the UK produces nothing, has the highest debt levels in the world, specializes in Finance and Lawyering and has huge levels of white collar crime (of which the LIBOR scandal is just the tip).

Comment Re:When we do it to you (Score 1) 382

Your argument rests on the assertion that possession of nuclear weapons would increase the hold of the Iranian regime on power within it's own country, and yet you fail to explain how could that be.

Nuclear weapons are hardly crowd control devices: you don't put down a rebelion by nuking the shit out of them. Even the most tightly controlled nuclear explosion would affect the whole country due to radioactive fallout.

In fact the only path I can see that would keep the current regime in power for longer due to them getting nuclear weapons is if the aquisition of nuclear weapons increased the pride of their people in the Technological and Military achievements of their country, hence supporting the regime. However, that being the case, the regime's hold on power would effectivelly be coming from the will of the majority of the Iranian people rather than from oppression.

Comment Re:Governments can't inflate the currency (Score 1) 430

Total gold already mined: 165.000 metric tons
Gold mined per-year: 2500 tons


So no country could "produce a crap load of gold [...] controlling the value of gold [...] offering to supply gold cheap, or flooding the market with gold" since total mining in all countries in the world adds up to less than 2% of all the gold in the world.

Even the Spanish in the 16th centuy didn't manage to do so when they brought to Europe a "crap load of gold" from South America.

So your argument seems unsuported by facts.

As for bitcoins, their problem is and always has been that first movers had a huge advantage: in the beginning, anybody with a pocket calculator could produce a "crap load" of bitcoins, so many did so: now that bitcoins are near impossible to produce, those people are trying to find suckers to dump their "cheaply made" bitcoins on for hard cash.
Any monetary system that starts up with some having a major advantage and others being at a major disadvantage is inherently flawed.

Comment Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (Score 2) 140

1) They already have at least two persons per tube station entrance, one manning the ticket counter (since they don't have machines that sell Oyster cards, so people have to do it) and one manning the actual gates since there are often people with problems going in or coming out which need to be let through (or sent to the guy in the ticket counter to pay up).

Thus the fixed costs are already being paid.

2) Paper tickers are regularly sold through ticket machines in train stations. The cost is miniscule.

3) This is England, worse, it's London - it's the nation of the "screw the customer" company policy (I should know, I live here). People are used to being screwed.
Certainly I've seen TFL do things like opening the gates in turist intensive areas (while providing ZERO guidance) so that people go in without touching-in their Oyster cards, so that when they exit in the other side they get charged the maximum fare (£7.80).

I would say the GP is spot-on with his/her accusations.

Comment Re:I suspect it's more to do with (Score 2) 402

It doesn't help that when you're exceptionally good at something your understanding of it and all it's miriad complexities is such that the vast majority of people can't even grasp half of what you're talking about.

It's like a bird trying to explain flying to a fish, a being who doesn't even have the concept of air.

More in general, when you can spot more of the subtleties of things and find more of the patterns and links behind things (the why behind the why behind the why), it's far too easy to overwelm others, sometimes even about things that are supposed to be their specialities (it's also very easy to make a fool out of yourself by seeing connections that aren't there).

Comment Re:Super tired of these two banks. (Score 4, Insightful) 267

I find any ideological opposition to regulation curious.

Are you aware that the current crash came after a period of deregulation of the financial industry comparable only to what happened before 1923?

I recommend that you to read a book called "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly" - you'll find not only that the current crisis is nothing new, but also that all the greatest banking crisis happened following phases of banking deregulation, just like this one. In fact the credit bubble that resulted in the current crisis started when the Glass-Steagal regulation was repealed.

Think of banking regulation like the economic equivalent of regulating an industry that deals in explosives - the side effects of a fireworks factory exploding right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood are so bad that the industry has severe restrictions about where and how they setup their business.

In your no-regulation world, how would you avoid that a fireworks factory is setup right next to your house (or maybe a nice nuclear waste treatment plant)?

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

I can only talk about IT startups, not startups in areas which have artifical high barriers to entry thanks to local regulations.

My experience as a serial emigrant and a Software Developer is that the set of skills for most things done in an IT company is the most portable there is. The barriers to entry to practice things like software development and graphics design are pretty much zero anywhere in the world and professional experience retains it's value across borders.

In such a domain, the only barriers one has to start one's company are related to one's own risk tolerance and things like the amount of savings one has and family support.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

In practice there seem to be 2 kinds of immigrants:
- The desperate poor that emmigrate because that's the only chance they have
- The ones who could have a decent life in their own country but chose to emmigrate

I suspect the former are no more likelly to start a company than anybody else.

As for statistics, the article in the OP is the one quoting the statistic. Feel free to read it.

I'm just providing what seems a likelly explanation in view of that and in view of my personal experience.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

you really sound like a jerk describing your "friend" as you do

Actually I think it's a shame. She's a sensitive person that ended up in a profession which, for all it's glamour, can be extremelly harsh and unforgiving.

As for non-IT startups in London, I wouldn't at all be surprised that "small investment firms and hedge funds, layers practices" have far more UK entrepreneurs: these are much more local-centric domains, in industries much more tightly coupled by webs of personal aquaintance and where knowing the right people from the get go makes a huge difference, so things like having gone to the right UK University and maintaining the right contacts makes a huge difference. A foreigner coming here from outside has much more difficulty breaking into those industries even with years of industry experience abroad - I know this for sure because I've actually worked in investment banking (and essentially had to prove myself all over again) and it's a very closed industry (and quite mediocre in the IT area).

BTW: Please notice that although I think imigrants are more likelly to startup new companies, I don't think that they are more likelly to success than non-imigrants. They are more likelly to try, IMHO, but that's it.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 3, Insightful) 171

I think a little quote from the GP explains a lot:

who take any available job and try to work their way up, but opportunities never appear.

You see, the thing about emigrants is that they are not satisfied by staying within the system they know, going for the steady plod up and hopeing that luck will land them with a big opportunity. The passive way never works unless you're born in the right family with the right connections.

Immigrants go out there and make their own way: they seek or maketheir own opportunities. After all, this is the kind of people that is willing to leave their own country, their family, friends and all that they know to go to a far away place where even things like unwriten social norms are different - starting your own company is a far easier endeavour.

The reason I know this is because I'm one of them and, not so long ago, after 3 countries and 7 years as a freelancer in IT I started my own Startup. I look around in the startup incubator where I'm based (Google Campus in London) and most people in there doing the same as me are foreigners too - in light of what it says in this NYTimes article, the abundance of foreigners now makes sense to me.

(PS: the GP's posture kinda reminds me of a friend of my who is an actrice - a profession with high unemployment - whose acting career goes nowhere preciselly because she keeps waiting for acting gigs rather than being out there promoting herself and looking hard for new opportunities)

Comment Re:Not necessiarly (Score 1) 448

Well, the good news with the whole economic depression and breakdown of the consumer society in Developed nations is that Science and Engineering might very well regains the status they lost against things like Finance and Law.

We might very well be at the brink of a new age when people turn to Science to discover the new sources of progress and Engineering to build the structures and machines that let us do things and go places we could never do or go to before.

We could do with some near-future Utopian Sci-Fi to help us along!

Comment Re:At least all of the jurors... (Score 3, Interesting) 175

Actually DNA technology as currently used to investigate crimes is not accurate.

DNA fingerprinting as used is only based on a few genetic markers, not full DNA sequencing. Sometimes as few as 8 or 12 markers are used. This means each combination of markers is the same for thousands of people.

Typically, this is not a problem for the situation when DNA is obtained from a crime scene and in parallel obtained from a suspect and then compared (the likellyhood of a false positive is something like 1 in 8 million).

It is however a problem when DNA is obtained from the crime scene and then a database of DNA samples (which, remember, does not contain a full DNA code, just the values for the markers) is searched for matches - because if the database is big enough, matches will be found for certain (after all, thousands of people have that exact same set of markers) and of late the government has been growing those databases as fast as possible.

So yeah, DNA fingerprinting has to be looked at with some skepticism and it did made sense for the defense to struck you out.

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