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Comment Re:It's actually 84 (Score 1) 158

Technically, no. You're attendance confirms your intention to vote, and fulfils your obligations. After all of the votes are counted, a certain percentage are discarded due to errors, and any attendees who do not put a ballot paper in the box are noted as a discrepancy in the turnout vs votes cast and tallied with the informal votes.

So, there really is no secret to this.

At the end of the day though, it's pretty poor form, and you really only have yourself to blame when the government turns out to be crap... but then again, this is no worse than those who vote for a party simply because that's what their demographic always does, or to vote with the people most likely to win, or to vote simply to get the incumbents out of office, or those you fall for the media hype and the vapid election "promises" that are given simply to fool you into casting your vote thoughtlessly. In all cases, no thought goes into it and such voters merely contribute to the endless cycle of crap governance.

Now imagine what would happen if people were truly "informed", and cast their votes based on both conscience and logic! Yeah, it's a pipe dream... but who knows... the universe is a pretty weird place so maybe it might happen by accident some day! :-P

Comment Re:Vote Greens = de- reg'd + "Preferential" voting (Score 2, Insightful) 169

Actually, the preferences system is about as fair and as democratic as it can get. The only time it seems to fail is when a party you voted for passes preferences to another party that you personally wouldn't have endorsed. The thing is, you can choose to allocate your preferences yourself, or elect the party to do it for you. Ultimately it always comes down to your choice, and if you give away your voting preference rights to someone else, you've only yourself to blame if you don't like the choices, or can't be bothered filling out the ballot forms properly. It's up to the individual to check that they filled the ballot papers out properly, and if you make a mistake, you are entitled to destroy the ballot paper you ruined and get a fresh one.

So in actual fact, passing preferences empowers the voter, and empowers the minor parties because in the case of a party, they can make deals to trade for power. For example, the Geens are really aiming to get as much control over the senate as they can. They know that they won't get the balance of power in the lower house, so they deal away their preferences with the Labour party in order to gain concessions, and to boost their profile so that in following elections, they have more publicly allocated campaign funding and a greater appeal to the public because their visibility is greater.

Where our system does fail us, is in that we have a perception that we are voting for a person to lead our country, but as recent events have shown, we are only voting in members to represent ourselves locally, and it is up to the parliament to determine who should represent it, usually decided entirely by the party in power at the time. So while many thought they had elected Kevin Rudd to lead us, they had forgotten they had only voted for their party member and by default granted that party member the right to vote on the constituents' behalf who the Prime Minister would be. For mine, I'd prefer a third form where you could list your preferences for preferred head of state. PM/President/whatever, to avoid the sort of political shenanigans that occurred so recently.

The two-party majority system that we seem to have is really the fault of the people. If you REALLY want the system to change, you need to use your vote to signal that change, not simply vote for the person you think would win anyway, or vote for the opposition simply to get the incumbents out of power. Your individual vote might not seem like much, but if everyone votes sensibly then the combination turns out to be truly powerful thing, and a responsibility that shouldn't be treated so lightly, especially when you know that there are so many places in the world without our freedoms. So you can moan as much as you like about the alleged unfairness of your system, but count yourself lucky that you actually have the right to do so, and if you want to protect that right, you need to vote to do so.

Oh, and if you think our system is so undemocratic, compare this to the system used in the USA, where only a handful of states actually wield the power to change the government because they get more "votes" than the other states, and where the individual cannot allocate a preference vote if their preferred candidate doesn't win. Yes, our last few governments have a lot to answer for, and yes, we seem to be losing our rights all the time... and yes, that is the collective fault of the public who voted the bastards in! And yet, in spite of all of that I still feel like we are the lucky country (yes, I've lived in MUCH worse), and if you really want to change things, you have the right and the individual responsibility to do so.

Comment Oblig. gratuitous Batman reference... (Score 1) 1

"You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain...", or in Copernicus' case you get persecuted and become corpsified for several hundred years and wait for a "Whoops! My Bad!" from the Catholic Church. Proving I suppose that even though history may be written by the victors, popular opinion and (pun warning) a little digging around can help correct such things... even if it does take a long time to get around to. ...although that is perhaps quicker than you'd get a reply from the local town planning department, so I guess Copernicus really shouldn't complain can he? ;-)

Submission + - Copernicus Reburied As Hero (google.com) 1

CasualFriday writes: Mikolaj Kopernik, AKA Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero on Saturday, nearly 500 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. On Saturday, his remains were blessed with holy water by some of Poland's highest-ranking clerics before an honor guard ceremoniously carried his coffin through the imposing red brick cathedral and lowered it back into the same spot where part of his skull and other bones were found in 2005.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Dedicated Halo 2 Fans Keep Multiplayer Alive 239

On April 15th, Microsoft terminated Xbox Live support for the original Xbox console, marking the end of online multiplayer for many older games. However, a group of Halo 2 players have refused to give up online play by leaving their consoles on and connected since then. Overheating consoles and dropped connections have taken their toll, but at present, 13 players are still going strong.

Comment It all comes down to... YOU! (Score 1) 2

Simply sending in a C.V. isn't enough. You need to find a way to connect with the people you are trying to contact.

Write a brief covering letter. In it, don't simply repeat your resume, but tailor the letter to the company you are writing to. Without sounding cocky, explain why you feel you would be perfect for the role. If the cover letter sucks, then they won't even bother looking at the C.V. If possible, make sure you include your covering letter even when you apply via the web, or find out how to send your application directly.

Do a little research first, rather than simply sending the resume off cold. Find out a bit about the company, the role, the people. Social engineering isn't only the domain of the hacker.

Make your C.V. stand out. 2-3 pages tops, and cover your whole employment history. Recent stuff warrants paragraphs, while ancient stuff merely a title and date. If you haven't had any experience in your target field, then ANY work experience can be used to pad the C.V., but pad it intelligently by describing the role briefly, and detailing what you achieved and learned, and how you feel it has helped in your personal and professional development.

Check your grammar and spelling, very carefully. Get someone else to proof read everything, and then go over it again. Word everything so that it is polite, and direct. Make no apologies or excuses, and be prepared to follow the theme through if you get to the interview.

Don't be disheartened if you don't succeed straight away. Keep trying and you will get there in the end. If you get disheartened, that can show in the way you write, and especially in the way you present at interview. Quiet confidence, and a positive approach are the key. If you can't handle the disappointments of missed employment opportunities, you'll give the impression that you'd find it difficult to handle the pressures of a real job.

Good people skills are the key, and will always get you further than merit alone.

Good luck! :-)

Comment First decide what you want out of programming... (Score 2, Interesting) 609

I've seen great maths/physics experts who were lousy programmers, and some self taught people who were brilliant... and naturally I've seen the opposite too. What you really need is a person with a skill set that is appropriate for the role that they are to fill. Myself, my math skills are basic at best, while my application of logic is quite solid - or so I've been told, and in my personal case, I work with Physics PHD's who understand the math way better than I do, but make the most elementary design mistakes if left to manage a project by themselves, this in spite of their having 6-10 years of programming "experience". My role largely involves writing APIs, and is very people-oriented, so I find that I don't need the same level of math that my colleagues need. Their role is to design algorithms, and yes, to dumb them down somewhat so that I and others in the team can make better use of such things so that our work integrates well with what our DSP engineers do. I wouldn't be suited for something as math oriented as game theory, whereas I think my colleagues would actually be better suited to such a role. I can however design and build relatively complex information systems, which tends to benefit more from a skill set where logic and people skills are more prominent. It really is a case of "It depends". If you're unsure and would like to keep your options wide open before you dive into the programming deep end, then yes, I'd suggest you delve into the maths a bit, and see where it leads you. If you already know where your career is going, you can always learn more as you go, pick up the skills you need along the way to make yourself more marketable. For my own roles, I've wished I studied more psychology (never thought I'd actually ever admit to that!!)... but that's just because of the nature of the type of products I've worked on.

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COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray