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Submission + - What Master's Degree to take

Almir writes: For background, I'm currently working in a largely unrelated field and would like to switch to IT soon. I do have some 15 years of experience so I would be unhappy to switch into a low level position. On to the actual question: I will be finishing my ICT BSc this October and I would like to continue with a Master's program, but am undecided which one. First choice is an advanced networking program with a heavy practical emphasis. Second is Managment of Informations Systems. I would prefer to take the combination degree (managment and IT) and so ease the transition into managment a few years down the road. On the other hand, the networking degree gives me practical knowledge. My dilemma is that the networking degree might be a better investment in the short term, when looking to switch to an IT career, but the combination degree could get me to where I ultimately want to be. Any advice you want to offer would be much appreciated.

Comment Re:More important: Knowing the English keyboard (Score 1) 545

This is, presumably, because most of the programming languages (you're likely to use) were created by English speakers, so the keyboard layout they are easiest to code with is UK/USA. Had the language been invented by a Polish guy, you can bet he'd be using an entirely different character set to end lines etc.

United Kingdom

Sir Isaac Newton, Alchemist 330

Hugh Pickens writes "Natalie Angier writes in The Hindu that it is now becoming clear that Newton spent thirty years of his life slaving over a furnace in search of the power to transmute one chemical element into another. Angier writes, 'How could the ultimate scientist have been seemingly hornswoggled by a totemic pseudoscience like alchemy, which in its commonest rendering is described as the desire to transform lead into gold?' Now new historical research describes how alchemy yielded a bounty of valuable spinoffs, including new drugs, brighter paints, stronger soaps and better booze. 'Alchemy was synonymous with chemistry,' says Dr. William Newman, 'and chemistry was much bigger than transmutation.' Newman adds that Newton's alchemical investigations helped yield one of his fundamental breakthroughs in physics: his discovery that white light is a mixture of colored rays that can be recombined with a lens. 'I would go so far as to say that alchemy was crucial to Newton's breakthroughs in optics,' says Newman. 'He's not just passing light through a prism — he's resynthesizing it.'"

Comment Re:Science = religion (Score 1) 692

Well being is hardly subjective. The reason why you insist the argument is subjective is because you're trying to simply put it away in that box of 'subjective morality' you created long ago and never thought about again. Things are changing though. Simply think of how simple it is to know that life in the west results in more well being then life in, say, Zimbabwe. I'm sure you can think of many reasons why this is so. These reasons such as economy, health, education, legal system etc are all factual and hence in the domain of science. We can look at these and decide which ones are more conductive to well being and which are not. The same is true for veiling women or beating children in school. These behaviors can be looked at scientifically and we can know if they lead to more or to less happy people. We can know this for a fact. This is all that matters.

This huge box called subjective morality in which failed philosophers have historically thrown all attempts to look at morality scientifically, is about to be taken apart. It's about time too. You can think for yourself and be at the beginning of the wave, or you can parrot what you've been taught until everyone else around you figures it out first. Your choice.

The Sam Harris TED video I posted earlier will explain everything I said much more eloquently and with much greater clarity, for anyone who wants to listen, btw.

Comment Re:Science = religion (Score 1) 692

No, those are primary moral questions. Because the happiness of others is directly related to the wellbeing of the society as a whole and the stability and the wellbeing of the society as a whole is clearly the catalyst of our own wellbeing. Morality needn't be more complicated than that (though the term is loaded with religious bullshit).

In addition to that, we are programmed to care about others. This is a simple matter of nature. I have no interest to talk about exceptions or to discuss why our chemistry works the way it does, but the matter of fact is that most people care about their fellow human beings.

Again, this is simply in addition to the first point, which places our concern for our own wellbeing above that of others. We, are, as you say selfish beings. But we are also reasonable and intelligent beings.

As far as science not being able to tell us what is better. This is patently wrong. "Better" simply means better at producing our wellbeing and that of others. Any other argument relating somehow to some morality of the entire universe and/or unconscious matter is clearly ludicrous. Only people in funny hats need be concerned with the opinion of the universe, the rest of us can be content with providing a better society for ourselves.

Now, the question you propose is in reality very simple to answer within this framework of wellbeing for myself and others, like yourself. We both know that the extinction of the human race will not make ourselves or our children happier, or even existent for that matter. It is only when you attempt to think of morality as somehow applying to the entire universe where things become obtuse.

So again, within the framework of providing wellbeing for conscious beings (and we know our level of concern scales with the level of consciousness a being exhibits), these question simply become question like "Will destroying the entire human race be conductive of a happy society".

Well Mr. Slippery, now that I've thought about it, no, I think it will not.

Comment Re:Science = religion (Score 1) 692

No, you are wrong. Science can answer moral questions, as Sam Harris eloquently argues in his latest TED speech

Not only that, but scientific thinking is arguably the best way to think about morals. What makes us and others around us happy? What decreases suffering both ours and that of others?

Surely, those are questions that have factual answers and some approaches will be better and some worse at promoting wellbeing and decreasing suffering. This puts moral questions squarely into the realm of science.

Again, watch the Sam Harris video for a much clearer and brutally honest talk on the topic of science and morality.

Comment Re:As a US Citizen all I can say is... (Score 3, Insightful) 214

What is the other side of committing genocide? Please tell me, I'd love to hear you generalize that too.

Again, you're trying to create a generalization that applies to both the American civil war and the war in ex-Yugoslavia. There is no common thread there. We were (five) different nationalities and cultures with different wishes for the futures of our countries. We split, and now we are different countries. I know even you can tell the difference in sides as you went for "almost as nasty" in your initial post. Though, you may want to learn, in a slightly more detailed way, the histories of our countries before playing expert on slashdot.

Of course, none of this bears any similarity to the civil war in USA.

Comment Re:As a US Citizen all I can say is... (Score 4, Insightful) 214

As a Bosnian, let me point out that neither Croats nor Muslims in Bosnia were nearly as bad as Serbs. Maybe if you took a bit of time from trying to fit everything into one tidy world view where your neat generalization applies to everything, you'd learn that Serbia went to war with Slovenia, then Croatia, then Bosnia and finally Kosovo. This alone should make it blindingly obvious to anyone who the bad guy is

Because, sometimes there really is a bad guy and someone needs to make him pay.

My apologies if that ruins your neat little theory of Europe vs USA culture.


Earth-Like Planets In Our Neighborhood 171

goran72 sends in a story out of the Chicago AAAS meeting contending that Earth-like planets with life-sustaining conditions may be spinning around stars in our galactic neighborhood — we just haven't found them yet. "'So I think there is a very good chance that we will find some Earth-like planets within 10, 20 or 30 light years of the Sun,' astrophysicist [Alan Boss]... told his AAAS colleagues meeting here since Thursday. ... The images from those new planets, he added, should identify 'light from their atmosphere and tell us if they have perhaps methane and oxygen. That will be pretty strong proof they are not only habitable but actually are inhabited. I am not talking about a planet with intelligence on it. I simply say if you have a habitable world. ... Sitting there, with the right temperature with water for a billion years, something is going to come out of it. At least we will have microbes,' said Boss."

LHC Forces Bookmaker To Lower Odds On the Existence of God 457

A UK bookmaker has lowered the odds on proving that god exists to just 4-1 to coincide with the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider. The chance that physicists might discover the elusive sub-atomic object called the "God particle" has forced the odds lower. Initially the odds that proof would be found of God's existence were 20-1, and they lengthened to 33-1 when the multi-billion pound atom smasher was shut down temporarily because of a magnetic failure. A spokesman for Paddy Power said, "The atheists' planned advertising campaign seems to have renewed the debate in pubs and around office water-coolers as to whether there is a God and we've seen some of that being transferred into bets. However we advise anyone still not sure of God's existence to maybe hedge their bets for now, just in case." He added that confirmation of God's existence would have to be verified by scientists and given by an independent authority before any payouts were made. Everyone getting a payout is encouraged to tithe at least ten percent.

Submission + - Google's $4.6bn wireless plan grounded

Almir writes: Google's plans to bid for a portion of America's airwaves were dealt a blow last night when the Federal Communications Commission refused to approve two of the internet company's conditions. Google had said that it would match the $4.6 billion (£2.3 billion) reserve price set for a 700MHz licence, which could be used to provide wireless broadband internet access across the US from 2009, if the eventual winner was forced to meet four "open access" conditions. However, two more controversial provisions put forward by Google, which would require the eventual licensee to sell access to its network on a wholesale basis to rivals and allow other parties physical access to infrastructure at realistic points, were not included.

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"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama