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Comment Re:Russian and Chinese are stupid suggestions (Score 1) 514

Russian and German are actually both inflected languages as is Latin although the Romance languages lost much of their inflection over time. Old English too was inflected, but like the Romance languages, English also lost most of its inflections over time. English and Mandarin are actually both analytic languages, which means they rely more on the order of words in a sentence than on inflections to determine whether a word is, for example, the subject of a verb or its direct object.

Comment Windows XP and Office 2003 Here (Score 1) 727

Where I work, we're a Microsoft Windows XP Professional (32-bit) and Office 2003 shop; about a year or two ago, we moved from IE 6 to IE 7 and more recently IE 8. Fortunately, we also have Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome as options since we are devs. When it comes to an upgrade, there's always the question of what's the value to the Business? The newer machines fortunately have more than 2 GB RAM, but I hear there are plans to upgrade to 32-bit Windows 7 eventually, which is quite frustrating since I already run out of heap space.

Comment Re:Is this really that uncommon? (Score 1) 398

It isn't novelty per se but external/sensory stimulation, which novelty can be a form of. In Eysenck's theory, everyone has an optimal level of arousal; they feel overwhelmed and anxious if it is passed and bored if it isn't met. Extraverts' brains seem to be optimized to take in, process, and respond to information coming in from the environment while introverts' brains are optimized for a slower response with more time spent on "deep processing" in the prefrontal cortex. This biological difference is thought to underpin the higher-order differences seen between extraverts and introverts: sociability, activity level/pace, assertiveness, and positive affect.

Besides novelty (i.e., perception of change in the environment), other forms of stimulation can be sheer intensity (think extreme sports and rock concerts), competition, and viscerally rewarding experiences like food and sex. Ironically, many of the sociable, outgoing extraverts seem to be quite happy with the status quo and relatively incurious; but then again, openness to experience is a separate dimension of personality in many models, and it is that dimension that captures people's tendencies to engage in intellectual pursuits, experience different cultures or more of their own culture, and try new things or question their beliefs.

Comment Re:Teams and goals (Score 1) 285

You forgot Chris.
They suck, their work is lower quality, they don't solve problems well.

Chris takes a lower load of projects and they have bugs....But your job as a manager is to get enough out of Chris to turn a clusterfuck into a nuclear bomb.

Much of project management seems to be for the Chrises of our industry. The Chrises can vaguely remember how to write a for loop if they use Eclipse's auto-complete; they'll introduce at least as many bugs as they fix; and, as they grope around blindly inside the codebase, eventually, with enough management oversight and testing, they can get something approximating the specifications implemented, sort of. Yes, more than anyone, they are the cause of code rot; if there was any consistent design in the application before, it'll be gone; unit-test coverage will be near nil or covering things like getters and setters. Generic types are "too hard" to understand.

Businesses, though, usually rather hire an army of mediocre developers than a handful of good ones who can deliver better, faster.

Comment Re:We need to politicize software development (Score 1) 283

During and after the French Revolution, there was a Left and Right in France; actually, France is where the terms originated. During the Revolutionary War in America, the terms Left and Right had not yet been popularized; people used terms like Tories and Whigs or Loyalists and Patriots. An argument has been made that the American Revolutionary War was a "conservative revolution" insofar as the Founders sometimes made reference to ancient English rights and freedoms. Right and Left develop within polities (with international crossover), not from without. During the American Revolution, the "Right" would have been the Loyalists to the Crown, and the revolutionaries would have been the Left. Immediately after the Constitution went into effect in 1789, it's hard to call either party left or right definitively; Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were both children of the Revolution. Some Federalists did have an interest in styling the President like a king, so they may be thought more Right at least on that front.

By "market fundamentalism," I am referring to a particular ideology rather than macroeconomics or capitalism in general; you might know it as laissez-faire or libertarianism. Market fundamentalism oversimplifies problems, reducing everything to market forces and suggesting a handful of solutions to any and every problem. In some cases, the result is "privatization" -- a bastardization where public funds are placed in private hands to provide a public service for private profit. This includes voucherizing Medicare, privatizing Social Security (turning it into something more like a 401(k) or mutual fund), Obama's Affordable Care Act, etc. Sometimes public goods are provisioned by the government because they are not feasible in the market (unless a bastardized "privatization" arrangement is created). Between the laissez-faire capitalism of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises and the totalitarian Marxism-Leninism of the USSR, there's a happy medium of more or less free markets with the government stepping in to make sure people aren't being poisoned by their food or dying in the street from poverty/illness.

Comment Re:Hackerspace != Political Correct (Score 1) 1127

Sorry, but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun would not make a good commander-in-chief in a civilized, modern democracy. I want the high-ranking politicians and military commanders to be well aware of the human cost of their decisions and to really wrack their brain over it. I want them to feel some doubt and pain over loss over the decision, no matter what they come to. What I definitely don't want is a president gleefully galloping ahead as he drags the nation into war. Psychopaths, by the way, are heavily biased towards the rewards and thus are less likely to thoroughly review the negative consequences of their conduct, both for others and themselves.

Comment Re:Hackerspace != Political Correct (Score 1) 1127

Sociopathy is bad, by definition. Sociopathy is a personality disorder where the affected individual is inclined towards behavior that is socially pathological (thus the name). If the person merely feels little for others but does not actively harm them, the individual is not a sociopath. Lack of empathy or emotion more generally is either a diagnostic sign or associated feature of several other psychiatric conditions, including narcissistic personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder (these people are basically just extremely introverted), and psychopathy. Psychopaths have an in-born lack of empathy and also a lack of fear and other inhibiting emotions.

The distinction between the psychopath and the sociopath is theoretical: The psychopath is thought to be born with a temperamental endowment towards callous-unemotional behavior and a generalized fearless and impulsive way of approaching things. The sociopath is thought to have grown up under poverty, trauma, etc. A person could be theoretically born with the temperamental traits thought to underlie psychopathy without partaking in criminal or antisocial behavior or only to a lessened degree.

Comment Re:Focus Will Be On Economy (Score 1) 757

Socialism is a broad term, but socialism often includes both economic and political elements. For example, Soviet-style socialism included a political system of local soviets that were represented inside larger state units until the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body in the USSR, was reached. Originally, this was meant to be bottom-up, but under the totalitarian system that developed, decision-making was largely top-down, especially under Stalin. Contemporary European social democracy takes part in the "bourgeois democracy" (in Marxist terms) of the parties' respective governments. Other forms of socialism place the organs of government directly in the hands of workers; factories and offices are freestanding entities, and people participate "democratically" via their employment.

Likewise, Italian Fascism and German Nazism included political and economic components.

Comment Re:We need to politicize software development (Score 1) 283

Burkean conservatism is only one flavor of right-wing idealogy, and many right-wing ideologies are more utopian (or dystopian, if you prefer) than pragmatic. Christian Dominionism is, for example, right wing and quite radical as is the Islamic radicalism of the Middle East (theocratic, authoritarian regimes can generally be thought "right wing"). Market fundamentalism is another purist ideology that can come in quite extreme forms such as found in Ayn Rand's or some other liberarians' works. Other forms of right-wing ideology rely on concepts like divine mandate, birthright of the nobility, or a sense of national destiny. Generally, right-wing ideology seeks to justify social inequality as useful and necessary or simply unavoidable; more extreme forms of right-wing ideology seek to actually increase this inequality.
Left-wing ideologies, in contrast, work on increasing social equality or fairness, decreasing disparities in wealth and power. Classical liberalism sought to unseat the prerogatives of the king/queen, nobility, and clergy, giving everyone the same set of rights before the law, using empiricism and reason to create objective rules that could be applied, in theory, universally. Shortly after the industrial revolution, socialism and communism in the Marxist tradition sought to unseat the wealth and power disparity that the capital/industrialist/bourgeois class held over the working class/proletariat with various schemes that would ideally lead to worker/popular control; in practice, Marxism-Leninism and its descendents led to a new elite (the nomenklatura and Party leaders) with a disenfranchised majority. Even Christianity, which is today usually thought of as mostly reactionary, was at its start a radical break from Roman society and relatively egalitarian (socialism and Christianity are two examples of how selfless ideologies can become used for selfish advantage).

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 283

It's usually thought of in the reverse. The liberal wants to change how society works, and then conservatives form an alliance and a cohesive worldview that defends the status quo; reactionaries are more conservative than conservative, wanting an idealized status quo ante. Today, though, I would consider Democrats to be overall more conservative than Republicans, especially the so-called conservative Republicans. Today's U.S. conservative movement is nothing if not radical. The duel thread of Christian fundamentalism and anti-government, free-market economics is a sharp break from the status quo that is as utopian (or dystopian, in my opinion) as anything from Karl Marx. Democrats have worked mostly towards incremental reform (the Affordable Care Act, for example, works on top of the existing system rather than fundamentally reforming it). Basically, liberals, once proposing grand reforms, had made much progress in the 20th century, and since the days of Reagan, they have been on the defensive against grand solutions coming from the Right instead of the Left.

Comment Re:I have to deal with this all the time.... (Score 1) 945

Suspension of civil liberties; an aggressive, militaristic ideology; concern with racial/national purity; and preference for a social Darwinist worldview pretty much put Nazism on the far right--not the libertarian right but the authoritarian right. Left-wing concerns are more humanitarian: remove concentrations of power (large corporations being considered a power against employees, consumers, and the environment that can be counterweighted by government regulation), increase individuals' well-being (end hunger, disease, poverty; help people live more rewarding, self-actualizing lives), peace (oppose wars, gun violence, genocide, violence against women), etc. Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism represent the authoritarian left, which shares the authoritarian traits of the authoritarian right but instead pursues vaguely "left-wing" goals. To the authoritarian left, the problem isn't so much concentrations of power but power belonging to the wrong class (the bourgeoisie) instead of the proletariat. The authoritarian left would happily put total power in the "vanguard of the proletariat" (i.e., a Communist party).

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