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Comment Conclusions Can Be Amusing (Score 2) 80

I was intrigued (I suppose that I still am) until the comment about sunscreen and being outdoorsy. Herein lies the danger of such things, but I assume it is poor journalism rather than poor science (or, at least, I hope the scientists aren't concluding this).

You see, I wear sunscreen. Religiously. I am not terribly "outdoorsy". I am paranoid about skin cancer (runs in the family) and wrinkles (I'm a bit vain, what can I say).

I think what they meant to say is, given a population with certain characteristics, one can infer certain probabilities about the population. While this is interesting in a population, it's also the same horse s#!t that results in me getting Facebook ads centered around marijuana because I align closely with libertarians (but I don't smoke pot. At all). I long for the day when our marketing overlords start sending me phone ads for paddle boarding or tennis or outdoor yoga because I wear sunscreen. It's so much easier to tune out stuff that has zero relevance.

Comment Re:We can date the jump into the U.S. in about 197 (Score 1) 380

I remember this! Interesting... there was an article in "Hustler" (yes, that Hustler) that put forth the theory that petroleum jelly was being absorbed in the system, and causing a breakdown of immune cell production. I think it even said something about "coating" cells or something like that. The Hustler article quoted some professional/scientific hypothesis white paper on how the mechanism could work, etc etc. I also think it went on to talk about how amyl nitrate usage exacerbated the problems, leading to a collapse of the immune system.

Comment Re:Blameless (Score 1) 380

...except that this is hearsay (at best), and quoted in a book ("And the Band Played On") that also disregarded information that he wasn't some mythical Patient Zero. They were selling books.

Not saying he didn't do this, but there isn't any compelling evidence he did.

Comment Re:Interesting radio lab episode on epidemics (Score 2) 380

Except the statements about him intentionally attempting to infect people are, at best, anecdotal. They're also from a source ("And the Band Played On") that disregarded the misinformation around patient zero (actually being patient O, or "Outside Southern California") because it made good narrative.

He may have been an asshole, but it's not verified.

Comment Re:you have nobody but yourself to blame (Score 1) 1092

I agree with what you're saying, with one important caveat: it's pretty typical in soft-skill jobs (which media, frankly, is) where there is a good supply of qualified workers to take a job doing customer service to get one's foot in the door. Further, it's typical with such places to have a minimum time in service (12 or 18 months, usually) before being allowed to move to a new position... because lots of qualified people are sticking their foot in the same door.

Before I went back to school and got my CS degree, I worked customer service at a major wireless carrier. At the time (mid/late nineties) they were expanding and growing. I had a friend who worked customer service there (because she wanted to get into sales, and they said 'you will need to get your foot in the door') and said if you can do your year, within six months afterward if you have any skill whatsoever you'd find a different job. She did; I did; it all worked out. We knew what we were getting into and, yes, a year on the phones kinda sucked. I had my eye on a larger prize and knew my own skills, so it worked for me. The woman complains about this, but knew it going into it. I don't know if Yelp *actually* promotes from within, and if they don't this is indeed a specious practice. If they do promote from within (as my previous employer did), then I don't have a problem with it if they disclose up front.

Comment Seriously: Some Element of Truth (Score 1) 444

It's easy to poke fun or exclaim they should give everything to charity blah blah... but as some have pointed out, a lot of /. readers are in tech, and comparatively well-off. This hit home recently:

I hooked up with an old friend who was relocating to my city. We'd grown up together. Because of different career paths, my household income is dramatically more than his. We're in the neighborhood of 5-percenters, and he is struggling.

It is uncomfortable at times. We tried to keep it a low profile, discretely picking up the tab, but it just gets weird. We're genuinely excited about our impending holiday trip, and he's struggling to figure out how to afford his bills. What's worse, is sometimes the frustration bleeds out the edges and he gets pissy... and I don't blame him, but I don't blame us for not wanting to be around it or always trying to watch our p's and q's either.

I won't stop being friends with him or anything. This forms a fairly minor part of our interaction, but it does exist. When we were both poor, back when we were 19? Nope. Today, with highly disparate incomes? Yup, and I get it.

Comment Re:Connecting things to the internet. (Score 1) 149

Because "triggered" is a misnomer... or more accurately, it only provides some of the information the light cycle works from. Depending upon the exact configuration, that intersection may be configured to be red in that direction until after someone stops there... which then triggers a timer... which then cycles the light some seconds later. Lights work on cycles, can be timed across a system (manually), and most can even do time-of-day patterns. It's not terribly sophisticated, but it isn't direct cause-and-effect either.

Comment It's a Mgmt Issue (Score 5, Insightful) 529

I've worked at places that are heavily remote and heavily not. I've seen it done successfully and not.

One place, when I was on team A 100% on-site, I interacted with my manager very minimally. We had little direction, lots of bureaucracy, and a slow pace of accomplishing anything. I moved to another team B, 100% remote, interacted with my manager a lot, we had lots of planning, direction, and follow-up, and got stuff DONE.

I've seen it time and again: the overwhelming majority of people need leadership. What kind of leadership is specific to the individual; good mgmt can tailor their style to individual needs. Rare - much rarer than most people think - is someone who needs no leadership.

What happens is that remote teams can exacerbate management failings. People slack off; some people work in chunks (as I do - I will goof off for a couple of hours and then pound out a day's work), some people work slow and steady. If you're results-oriented, you can measure this. If you manage people correctly, it can be done remote, on-site, or blended.

Managing remote teams requires a different set of skills. Most places make the mistake of assuming a remote worker is just like an on-site worker, to be treated the same. They're not. It's not better or worse, just different.

Comment Re:No "homophobia" (Score 1) 1174

You're actually making my point; I'm sorry if it isn't clear. Just because you consider me dragging "highly emotionally charged and totally unrelated example" into it doesn't mean I'm not right. I'll agree slavery is more serious, but please explain how interracial marriage or segregation are fundamentally different, based upon the arguments for and against them?

Marriage has not been defined as that for "thousands of years". It's actually varied quite a bit from culture to culture and over the decades, and even in modern times. Even Wikipedia has multiple well-referenced examples. Miscegeny was NOT legal, socially acceptable, or the norm in the overwhelming majority of cultures - even Westernized ones - until relatively recent history. I'm old enough to remember when seeing a black man holding a white girl's hand, walking down the street in the major city I grew up in, drew openly hostile remarks. I'm not that old, either.

Saying there isn't anything discriminatory in a definition - and that it's based primarily on biology - is specious. Couples who can't or don't want to have children get married. For a long time published arguments against miscegeny touted the idea of racial dilution and even health hazards to any babies.

You may understand why people don't want to change it. So do I: they're bigots. I'm actually okay with bigots, until they think they can impose or continue to impose their views on others by restricting their rights, especially when said rights don't infringe upon anyone else. Show me one decent ethically sound and morally righteous reason why society benefits by not allowing homosexuals to marry. Again, I challenge you to replace the words in any argument with "mixed race" instead of "gay", and explain that it isn't bigoted.

"Being anti-interracial-'marriage' does not automatically make someone racist or a bigot." How does that sound to you? Anyone who thinks they can be anti-gay marriage and not have a very narrow, judgmental, bigoted view is deceiving themselves by couching their bigotry in supposedly sound arguments of culture, society, and biology. That fits your Webster's definition quite soundly. I'll agree my stance does too - however; the same argument can be positioned for any stance (again - substitute interracial marriage and the people against it). I base the validity of my position on ethics and morality.

Comment Re:No "homophobia" (Score 1) 1174

Some people against gay marriage have absolutely nothing against gay people or gay couples. And some even support legal gay coupling, with the same rights as marriage, just not called "marriage".

Replace "against gay marriage" with "against emancipation", and "gay people or gay couples" with "slaves or slave families". After all, just because you're for slavery doesn't mean you hate black people, right? You just understand their socio-economic and biological limitations, right?

Or better: replace with "against interracial marriage", and "mixed black and white couples or other interracial coupling". After all, it's just so unseemly to push their integrated views on polite society, right? Plus, think of their children - they'll never have a chance to not be mocked in public, to be integrated into either race's culture. You'd be diluting both races. It would be a travesty, really.

Or better: replace with "against desegregated schools", "blacks and whites in the same classroom." After all, each group needs to learn different things. It's really not fair to group them all together. Plus, how could they learn their cultures? Or better yet, just put them in "their own" schools (e.g. not calling it marriage). It's really better for them in the long run.

I could go on, but I think my point is clear. If one wants to be a bigot - fine. Own it for what it is. But please don't imply that - somehow - one's bigotry and biases are something other than that, or that just because one doesn't support gay marriage it is ethically or morally equivalent to supporting it. It isn't.

Comment Re:A stupid issue (Score 1) 1174

So I agree that in (my) perfect world, the government wouldn't be involved in marriage, the sad fact is that they are. Because they are, it ought to be addressed.

Saying you're against gay marriage, because it's a subset of marriage, and then "walking away", is not addressing the real issue. And if that's all you have to say on the matter, you're really just making a thin veil over bigotry. This is similar to folks who say "I hate the sin but love the sinner, and homosexuality is against my religion." It's a way of addressing any logical discussion against their bigotry by claiming "see - I'm not a bigot! I'm against it because of this other thing you can't really argue with."

In dealing with reality, we have a situation in this country where the government is deeply involved in things like civil rights, marriage, war on drugs, copyright... all those things that often enter the realm of "should they". That's an academic discussion. The very real discussion is that, today, there are laws and practices that actively discriminate against a subset of the population based upon biology, for strictly no reason or value to society, in the same way that similar laws and practices benefit others. That is a case for the government to be involved.

Comment Um... Yes (Score 1) 776

Like many who've posted, we give every developer applicant a live coding test. We allow them to select one from a list of 5 problems, to be coded in the target technology we're hiring for. For each of them, every member of my team can have working in under 15 minutes. I'm the manager over several teams, haven't written any production code in probably 2 years, and can whip them out of my posterior in a variety of languages. We provide the environment, compilation scripts/commands (if appropriate), and Google. We do ask that they not Google the actual problem. We give them an hour, and they can extend by another hour if they ask.

About 60% of applicants abjectly fail. I don't mean they have a bug, or misunderstand the problem so implement incorrectly, or are inelegant. I mean they fail to produce code the compiles or runs (depending upon technology). C++ "experts" who, in a fit of frustration, copy/paste a HelloWorld! example out of Google into vim, miss the first '#', and it doesn't compile, and cannot figure out why. PL/SQL "experts" who can't select from a single table.

The person who did the wrong copy/paste-desperation move assured me at the end of the interview they were actually an expert, and not to let their failure "taint" my impression of them.

About another 10% or so write something that is incorrect, but does something functional. For those folks, we weigh it case-by-case. The remainder pass (and are usually surprised when we tell them how many fail). It's a sad fact, but a lot of "experts" Simply. Cannot. Code.

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