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Comment Lanza had a father?? (Score 1) 1168

Now, I have deliberately avoided most of the coverage of this event but this is literally the first time I've heard any mention anywhere about Adam Lanza's father. And you mention him only indirectly. Before now I had to assume immaculate conception, which helped explain a lot, but now all my theories are laid to waste..

Naturally now I'm very curious. Did he have a relationship with his father? Was it close? How did his father treat his mother? With kindness, compassion and respect? Which came first: sociopathic child or broken home (indeed, I imagine if there is causation it can go either way- some marriages destroy kids, some kids destroy marriages...)?

FWIW the video game connection has been studied and reported on extensively. Two examples:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/17/ten-country-comparison-suggests-theres-little-or-no-link-between-video-games-and-gun-murders/
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/09/us/they-threaten-seethe-and-unhinge-then-kill-in-quantity.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
If congress feels the need to revisit the question then I smell a pork barrel.

Comment Re:What about programmer? (Score 1) 333

From an immigration perspective, USCIS cares a lot about the distinction between engineer and programmer. Ask anyone who's entered the US in TN status what it's like answering the question 'how much programming do you do?' It's a trap! Programmer is not a NAFTA-qualified occupation, whereas Software Engineer is... NAFTA considers that you can obtain programming credentials from a community college, versus requiring a B.Sc or B.Eng to become a Software Engineer. The occupational description hinges on 'analysis, design and development' of software, versus just, uh, programming.

http://www.tnvisaexpert.com/overview/nafta-occupations/

Comment Re:Two words: dumb customers (Score 1) 549

Who are the customers? Consumers don't readily grasp the relationship between coverage and premiums, so they don't blink at their insurance paying out thousands of dollars. Insurance companies don't mind paying out thousands of dollars because they can just raise premiums. Employers scratch their heads and wonder why the cost of insurance is skyrocketing but, no worries, we'll just push down wages to make up the difference. And here we haven't even scratched the surface of collusion between insurers and congress.... so it goes.

Comment Ah the mid-life/mid-career crisis (Score 2) 700

More likely your second because most men have their first one in their 20s, when adulthood turns out to be not at all like what you expected.

Rather than fish for books, I'd recommend having a look around at your friends, workmates, and acquaintances about your age or a little older and identify three things:
1. Who is having the most fun?
2. Who has reasonable job security, to the extent that exists today?
3. What skills do they have that you don't?

Use these things to guide your choices for skills to develop- maybe they are technical, or maybe they are people skills, but you'll be working towards filling a deficit that can open new/better opportunities for you.

Personally, I think there is limited benefit to enhancing coding skills, such as learning a new language or framework- they are a dime a dozen and the industry always has a new fad. On the other hand I think there's a lot of value in learning new analytical skills. Everyone and their dog wants to mine actionable intelligence from their customer data and the ability to scrub, synthesize and model is a key asset. Plus when the data is sufficiently rich it can be a lot of fun compared to setting up yet another web site. If you want to take it all the way to home plate, pick up some machine learning skills, eg by taking one of the Stanford or Udacity online courses and dazzle your employers with your ability to predict that your customer is pregnant... ;-)

btw, IMO a promo every three years seems about par for the course- not fantastic but nothing to complain about. The real difficulty is that promotion velocity tends to slow over time, since there can only be so many head chefs.

$0.02

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 0) 152

Yes, I'm suggesting exactly that. There is no reasonable way to extrapolate but a distribution with only 800 people in the head suggests the vast majority of artists are earning a few dollars per year from Pandora and not much more across the whole ecosystem.

Comment Focus on engineering (Score 1) 632

This doesn't directly answer the question but my two cents is to pursue an applied degree in something other than CS.

I self-taught myself BASIC in gr5/6, mostly on the Vic-20 and TRS-80. After that my main relationship with computers was to play Earl Weaver Baseball. In high school I focused on music, socializing, cross-country, math and physics in no particular order. I didn't program again until university, where I pursued first computer engineering (B.Eng.) and then computer science- robotics and machine learning (MSc/PhD). Everything I really needed to know about how to really program a machine was in a single 4-th year OS course where I learned how to fork() in C, and the basics of concurrency.

My honest recommendation is that schools should de-emphasize technology and establish rock-solid basics in math and science. And music: no one should finish school without learning to play an instrument...

Comment Re:Don't be evil (Score 2) 804

Microsoft was offering same-sex benefits when GOOG was still a gleam in Sergey and Larry's eyes.

http://www.microsoft.com/about/diversity/en/us/programs/ergen/gleam.aspx

Making a road-show of it can be a double-edged sword and though I thinks it's great GOOG is having this experiment it can sometimes backfire. There's the whole problem with imposting 'western' values on the rest of the world and how that can erode positive inroads. Prime directive and all that.

Comment Re:This made me laugh (Score 1) 245

"there simply aren't any alternatives"

I'm pretty sure elections predate computers.
I thought one of the virtues of democracy is that your vote is secret. What's all this stuff about 'voter history'?

No voting mechanism is above abuse, but automated mechanisms offer the possibilty of abuse at scale, which is untenable. On election night, Canada counts 100% of their ballots *by hand*. There is abuse but it is localized and relatively easily identified.

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