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Comment Go to it (Score 1) 433

I encourage you to get your degree on line. I did an online masters with UoP back in 2004, and I am willing to vouch for the quality of the instruction I got. The only ouch with UoP is the cost: It is pretty pricey, but you get what you pay for.

I turned in work for my masters degree from a dozen different cities, and I would have flunked out of a conventional program, just based on my work schedule and inability to attend classes. The MS has been a vital tool in securing the job I now have, not because it makes me a better technical worker, but because it causes an involuntary reaction in Catbert to put the resume on the top of the stack.

Indeed, in my current work we are prohibited from hiring software engineers without a degree, which is a dern shame, because one of our best guys could not transition from the prior contract because of this peccadillo.

Universities will be the next victim of the Internet. Why bother with a Lit degree when one can download the classics from It has been several years since I consulted any source other than the internet for CS information, so the only reason to fool around with a traditional university is the party/social scene. (That is not a bad reason to attend, by the way, but it has nothing to do with information transfer or professional development.)

Comment TCL/Tk (Score 1) 477

TCL is my choice. I choose a language based on the quality of code and the ease with which it can be adapted to my particular problem, so my code is peppered with comments like "From Richard Suchenwirth, downloaded from 2/10/08" Why write code when I can reuse? I have some very interesting problems to solve, and this lets me get to them, rather than debugging a C++ socket interface. (Again.) It is also easy to explain to new folks with just a few simple rules.


TCL also pops up in some surprising places, such as system utilities and very high end applications.

TCL/Tk can also be programmed like fury for prototyping, which I do not get to do as much as I would like.

Comment Re:False Dichotomy (Score 2) 1226

I take the bible literally. I also exposed my children to the fossil evidence, explaining to them the assumptions, methodologies and conclusion used by the researchers. I also explained to them where the fallacies were: unproven assumptions, suspect steps in the methodologies, and erroneous or unwarranted conclusions. I did the same, by the way, for bible interpreters that were attempting to go beyond where the scriptures plainly teach. Anything less would be dishonest.

Comment Re:Representing the other side (Score 1) 1226

I disagree about the mounting evidence idea. What is mounting is evolution dogma, and an empowered inquisition to make sure that no one questions the idea of evolution. Leakey's argument is from taxonomy, which is the art of laying out samples in some order, then saying that the order proves something. It does not. All it represents is a design in the mind of the taxonomist. Placing a fossil between two other fossils does not prove a link, it proves a relationship. I could go dig up a random collection of human thigh bones, place them in order from longest to shortest, then use that to prove that people are getting shorter over time. How do I do that? I select only bones that meet the criteria older, longer newer, shorter. I then claim the other bones are 'contaminated', a different population, or fraudulent dates. TA DA! proof! I can go about this ad infinitum (or until the grant runs out) with fossils, because I can always assign a find so a location in the taxonomy that meets my needs to prove the theory.

This is why methodology is so important.

Comment Re:Want to understand? (Score 2) 1226

Fascinating post. You assume that everyone that opposes AWG is automatically anti-science, even though there are good scientific reasons to doubt the premise put forward by the "CO2 Taxation is the only thing that can save us!" crowd. Here is some science:

" There is no dispute at all about the fact that even if punctiliously observed, (the Kyoto Protocol) would have an imperceptible effect on future temperatures -- one-twentieth of a degree by 2050. "

Dr. S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service; in a Sept. 10, 2001 Letter to Editor, Wall Street Journal

Comment Re:Don't count on it (Score 1) 1226

It is possible that you are missing a third possibility: evolution is false, but something else (unknown to you) is true. Evolution is a possible explanation, but nothing about it makes it the only possible explanation. Where is your scientific curiosity? Maybe there is something more to find than a random origin resulting in a meaningless life followed by a random death.

(Such is the logical conclusion of evolution.)

Comment Re:Don't count on it (Score 1) 1226

What you are observing is that any skeptic is treated as if possessing such an idea automatically means the skeptic is a creationist. If one questions Leakey's conclusion, then obviously that means the questioner is a creationist. Never mind if one has a valid complaint with some aspect of Leakey's argument. It is pretty safe to say that Dr. Leakey will say what he thinks will buttress his preselected idea.

Comment Re:War is a Racket! (for half) (Score 1) 225

Even a general can be wrong, and Butler proves this. One can be drawn into a war at the will of an enemy, and defending the innocent and weak is always appropriate even if it requires the death of men who will not respect the value of the people they share space with. Butler was proven wrong by the Nazi. Sometimes you have to do something, and sometimes that something is unpleasant.

Comment Re:Perspective, people, perspective (Score 1) 262

This is not a difficult problem. An over-the-road truck is of the same order of complexity as a 2-stage rocket in terms of parts count, We generate probably over half a million heavy trucks per year, so a rocket fleet to move 6 billion to orbit could be done. A better question is why? you would be leaving a place that has air, water and food for places that have none of those.

Comment Re:Oh great... (Score 1) 408

Just a few notes: The US withdrew from the ABM treaty using the formal means for doing so established in the treaty, so we fulfilled our treaty obligations to the letter of the treaty. One of the reasons that we did so was the inability of the other signatory (the USSR) to guarantee continued compliance with the treaty by newly independent states, such as Kazakhstan, which has the means to mount a missile defense.

I believe that respect for another people requires taking what they say seriously. This means taking the time to learn their language, or at least hiring a competent translator, and understanding enough about their cultural context to be able to understand their idiomatic statements. This includes understanding the fundamentals of their religion. These fundamentals (in this case) include the concept of Jihad, which involves killing infidels.

I agree that the bombers are not fundamentally suicidal. In truth they fundamentally homicidal. The Muslim idea is that they get a guarantee of going to wherever Allah is by dying in the process, regardless of their previous spiritual status.

The other point of this is not what I believe about them, but what they believe about themselves. They also might well have a plan for personally surviving the exchange to populate their Caliphate.

Comment Re:Oh great... (Score 1) 408

All parties have the option of defending themselves, and the Russian have defended Moscow from the very start of the cold war. You do not claim that their defenses are destabilizing, only ours. Why? I would also argue that a missile that can travel 7,000 miles for an attack will be more expensive than one that travels a couple of hundred for a defense. The idea that you can defeat defenses with MIRVs assumes that the defender cannot multiply his defense interceptors to match. One of the reasons that our mid-course intercepts tend to fail is that we are trying very challenging scenarios instead of simple one-on-one intercepts, which we know we can do. The problem with MAD is the inherent immorality of the proposition. It also assumes that your opponent is making rational choices, something the Jihadists prove daily to be a false assumption. What better way for a Muslim despot to get all his people to heaven than to get them all killed in a nuke exchange with the Infidels?

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