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Comment Re:C'mon guys, use your heads (Score 1) 519

There is less than zero chance that the President (Obama) didn't know about or sign off on this surveillance. The idea that a sitting President investigating his opponent would be done by lower level people without his knowledge is preposterous.

Why is that preposterous? Have you never conceived of a low-level person, interested in swaying the outcome of the election and thinking that they were doing the side of Good a favor---using the technology at their disposal, with the intent of leaking the information to (in this case) the DNC?

Comment But where are they going? (Score 2) 412

You realize all those people leaving the NSA are probably going to work for outside contractors that are doing the exact same things? You know, security companies that other governments hire to hack into yet different countries...or vendors to police departments who want to pwn potential criminals' computers, and so on. I doubt that with their specialized skill sets that they're just going out into the private sector to write reports all day long.

(Although I will say that a job in the private sector is a lot less demoralizing than a government job. Not that everyone in the private sector cares deeply about what they do, but the percentage is a lot higher.)

Comment Same goes for studying fiction (Score 1) 908

I've made a similar case against teaching students all about fiction, poetry and drama in so-called English classes, as nobody needs that crap except future English teachers, authors and poets. (And if we make this change, even future English teachers won't need to study fiction, poetry or drama.) We should replace all that useless garbage with reading comprehension (using NON-fiction exclusively), writing (again, non-fiction) and critical thinking studies. Our current educational emphases come to us from a distant past and seriously need revamping. We need critical thinkers far worse than we need people who can create fiction.

Comment Same old story that accompanies tech progress... (Score 1) 114

Another variation on the same story we get here every month or so. "Such-and-such is so complex now that the individual is no longer able to contribute anything truly new, as the stuff that one person can do on their own has already been done." That's the price of technological progress, people.

Sure, the exceptions jump out at us, as some of you are posting. But they jump out at us because they are the exceptions nowadays. As things progress we should expect that the serious front-line work will require more than one programmer.

Comment Be very very careful (Score 1) 87

Without knowledge of software engineering and the software world in general, there is a huge risk that the developers will in fact BS the leader 1) because he won't be able to judge the people he is hiring, and 2) he won't be able to filter their advice appropriately once he's hired them.. One hiring mistake, and any startup is finished.

He needs to very carefully hire someone with experience both in software and hiring developers, and then trust that person. It's the only way he'll have a fighting chance. I've seen the alternative happen too many times...

Comment Re:Driving still increasing (Score 1) 285

It's easier and more practical to abandon rural gravel roads that only lead to a few farm houses, which simply become long driveways leading to those houses. So the homeowner isn't trying to drive down them at 70 mph in a sports car, but rather at 20mph in a pickup truck, hence no worries about breaking an axle. The houses slowly fall in value, but are lived in until that generation is gone. The land remains in use as farm land. Problem solved. Happens near where I live, and it's no big deal, simply the evolution of transportation.

Comment Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1089

You have indeed conflated pro-business Republicanism with rank-and-file conservatism, as I suspected.

A quick glance at a graph of federal spending as a percent of GDP for the last 100 years shows an upward trend no one can miss. Conservatives (but not necessarily Republicans) would like to see that return to pre-FDR levels, but hold little hope of it happening. And I think they would see government stay entirely out of the same-sex marriage debate--taking neither side, but leaving that up to the States or the people. (Seems like I've read that phrase someplace...)

(But I'm glad to hear you opposed Obamacare.)

Comment Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 2) 1089

Politics are dominated by two parties (which are both marching further to the far-right end of the spectrum in a global sense)

Surely you're not calling our slide into a police state, with government consuming an ever-growing percentage of GDP a move to the right. Obamacare was move to the right??

Unless you've redefined the political spectrum recently, these are all moves that liberals I know still applaud. I can hear them clapping. (They're not actually happy, but they never were. Obamacare wasn't far enough for them!)

There are a few actual conservatives left in this country, and they'd still like to see us shrink the size of government as a percent of GDP, reduce taxes, reduce the intrusion of government into our personal lives, and so on. We're getting farther from their goals, not closer. They've basically given up all hope for the US.

Perhaps you're confusing conservatives with Republicans. Repubs abandoned conservatism about a decade ago, leaving the conservatives I know with no one to (willingly) vote for.

Comment The new literacy ought to be (Score 1) 212

the ability to think rationally and analytically. We live in a world full of people who think with their emotions, and can't reason more than one cause/effect level deep in anything. They are superstitious as a result, and make bad decisions constantly. A lot more good things would flow out of a more rational populace. It might start by turning off the damn television once in a while, too.

In fact, courses in practical reasoning ought to be part of every young person's curriculum all the way through high school and college. Not just a single course, but one per semester, because thinking clearly about things obviously doesn't come naturally to people.

Comment P not needed (Score 0) 127

With Microsoft's P language, Not Invented Here has clearly struck again. From their own documentation and examples, P doesn't support state nesting, which is the most powerful feature that UML statecharts have--and statecharts have had it since their inception (Harel, 1988). Skip P, and go for an open-source implementation of UML statecharts. Check out Boost's implementation, or this free one here: A Lightweight Implementation of UML Statecharts

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Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.