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Comment Re:Side effect of the Fake news in MSM (Score 1) 280

Government is way too incompetent to pull any of these crazy scenarios off....

Especially while keeping it quiet.

Look at the big government scandals of the last few decades, how many people were involved and how they were outed. Then line them up against common conspiracy theories and look at how many people would have to have been involved in them and how perfectly they would have to be executed and how many people would have to be kept quiet. Any rational analysis will quickly conclude that a government that couldn't keep a blow job in the oval office secret, or a hotel room wiretap, or low-key, small-scale sale of arms to Iraq, or prisoner abuse in a prison on the other side of the world, could never manage what the conspiracy theorists claim.

And, actually, this isn't even evidence of incompetence. Keeping secrets is really hard, and it's darned near impossible when the secrets carry moral baggage that encourages disclosure. Someone eventually outs it. Attempts to bully or eliminate possible leakers to keep them quiet just generates even more secrets with even more moral baggage. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il can probably suppress information he wants suppressed. Most of the time. In the US? No way.

Comment Re:"Green" technologies aren't sufficient. (Score 1) 213

The nuclear field's safety record is stellar, at least in the USA, so honestly that's a non-issue, but clean and safe nuclear power has never been cost effective. The controls required to meet current American safety standards are prohibitively expensive

And it was stellar before the regulations were ratcheted up, causing the cost to quadruple.

The reason that nuclear is prohibitively expensive is that we've pushed the safety standards far, far beyond what any rational analysis would require. We could reduce them dramatically and still have the safest power generation technology mankind has ever produced.

In a nutshell, I gave up on nuclear power after investing a decade of my life in it because it's a solution in search of a problem.

Nonsense. There's a very clear problem: clean, safe, cheap, large-scale power generation. Regulations have killed the "cheap" part, in order to add a few more nines to an already-outstanding safety record. Worse, they've so badly damaged the industry that newer designs that are inherently cheaper and safer can't even get off the ground because everyone is afraid to invest in them because of what the NRC might think of to hamstring those as well.

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

Luckily, it looks like renewables are progressing and might someday be able to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. It'll take a lot longer and be a lot more expensive than nuclear, though. Our insane nuclear power regulations are going to make global warming significantly worse and the economic impact of managing it much greater.

Comment Re:this is really getting tiring (Score 1) 221

But they're still there. What you've described constitutes deep and systematic racism and sexism that place serious obstacles in front of anyone who isn't the right race and gender. Just because no one is doing it "on purpose", that everyone has good intentions and thinks they're doing their best to be fair doesn't mean it isn't happening. It's the result of pervasive unconscious biases.

Prove it. Prove that's what's happening. You are making an extraordinary claim, you must justify it.

You described it! If you still can't see it, I can't help you.

Comment Re:this is really getting tiring (Score 2) 221

Because who gets promoted to management is entirely based on merit, right?

Sadly no. In my experience, who gets promoted to management has more to do with who you're friends with than actual ability.

Please note that gender and race were not mentioned *once* in the above.

But they're still there. What you've described constitutes deep and systematic racism and sexism that place serious obstacles in front of anyone who isn't the right race and gender. Just because no one is doing it "on purpose", that everyone has good intentions and thinks they're doing their best to be fair doesn't mean it isn't happening. It's the result of pervasive unconscious biases.

So, how do you overcome those unconscious biases, break the stranglehold of the good old boys' network on management positions (or a thousand other similar structures)? How do you root out the unconscious biases and make the people who hold them see that they do? Remember, these are well-intentioned people who consider themselves to be kind, and fair... but they just tend to hang out with their own kind, so that's who they know, and who gets promoted.

Serious question. What's your answer? Just letting the self-reinforcing system continue isn't a good one. So what do you do?

Comment Re:Coding is a profession with a long term future (Score 1) 532

What stack ?

I've done a lot of things. I've somewhat specialized in security of the cryptographic sort, but I've done embedded work, web sites (LAMP, J2EE, other stuff), networking (network drivers, worked on a reverse proxy, even wrote a TCP stack back in the day), point of sale systems, and a lot more. These days I work on Android, but that may change in the next year or two.

Comment Re:What makes an engineer in the US? (Score 2) 532

On the other hand, even without a government seal of approval, there are highly-skilled programmers in the world who have written lots of important and well-respected code that runs critical systems and does it very well. These are clearly worth of the name software engineer. The same applies to certain people who do software architecture, and deserve the label software architect.

So it's not that software engineering doesn't exist, or isn't a valid title, the only issue is that there's no defined standard by which to judge whether an individual merits the label.

Comment Re:I'll document it tomorrow (Score 1) 532

and "anybody can understand this by just looking at it, it doesn't need to be explained."

I beg to differ with this one. Code can be so clear and readable that no further documentation is required. It's just that writing such code is hard work, and never happens by accident.

After your code is complete, all tests pass, etc., take another pass and look for anything that isn't clear. Whenever you find a section that seems to benefit from an explanatory comment, try to rewrite it so that the comment is no longer needed. In many cases, this is as simple as moving the bit of code to a well-named function -- essentially you're replacing the comment with the function name. In other cases, renaming variables, or introducing new variables explicitly so that you can provide them with good names does the job. In other cases reordering/restructuring the code so that it has a more linear progression, and addresses subproblems in a logical and consistent way is needed. And sometimes, at the end of all that, there's some part that just requires a comment. In that case, add it, but only after exhausting all other options.

Then, let the code alone and do the same thing again tomorrow when your eyes are fresh. Then get a peer to review it (you're doing code reviews anyway, right?), and get their suggestions as to what isn't clear and obvious. Along the way, keep an eye out for bits of code that are clarified only by function and variable names, and look for ways to ensure that the function can't easily be changed in ways that invalidate the chosen names. Rinse, repeat until you reach the point that no more improvements can be found.

If this sounds like a lot more work than just writing an explanatory comment, you're damned right it is. But it's also much better, because, other than docsctrings, which are great, comments are evil. Over time, code evolves and comments tend not to get updated. I'd much rather maintain hard-to-read code with no comments than hard-to-read code with comments that are wrong. And in easy-to-read code, comments are pointless at best and a waste of time at worst, because experienced developers know that you can't just trust that the comment is correct, you also have to read the code.

Comment Re:Robots, robots everywhere! (Score 1) 374

Oh so your ultimate answer is taxation on the AI/robotic overlords in order to feed the masses?

Again, your ignorance blinds you.

Dude, tone down the rhetoric. It really doesn't facilitate rational discussion. Unless your goal isn't to have a rational discussion but just to make yourself feel good by spewing doom. In that case, I guess you're succeeding, but I have no motivation to participate further.

You assume that taxation has been the ultimate answer today, as trillions sit in offshore tax havens, driven by billionaire-funded lobbyists who manipulate governments into funding this kind of Greed. I fail to see how this shit situation will ever change in the future. The end result will be UBI being funded at the lowest legal level, which will essentially mean Welfare 2.0 for the planet.

The problem with money sitting offshore is caused entirely by the foolish decision to tax corporate income. Drop the corporate taxes -- or even reduce the rate significantly -- and that money will come flooding back, because it's not actually doing its owners any good offshore. Instead tax the shareholders on their gains. They can't so easily hide offshore because they actually want to live here.

Comment Re:Robots, robots everywhere! (Score 1) 374

paid for by taxing the owners of the capital infrastructure (i.e. the robots) that do all of the production

You're making a crazy assumption that the owners of the infrastructure will agree to voluntarily pay taxes in order to support useless masses.

As long as the masses have the vote, and therefore the ability to command police and military forces, there's no "voluntary" about it. That said, as long as there's still room for making more money, even with the taxes, they'll do it.

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