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Do Recreational Drugs Help Programmers?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the help-them-what? dept.

Medicine 878

jfruh writes "Among the winners of last night's election: marijuana users. Voters in both Washington and Colorado approved referenda that legalized marijuana for recreational use, though the drug remains illegal under federal law. There's been a long-standing debate among programmers as to whether recreational drugs, including pot and hallucinagens like LSD, can actually help programmers code. Don't forget, there was a substantial overlap between the wave of computer professionals who came of age in the '60s and that era's counterculture." (There's even a good book on that topic.)

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Caffine (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41920325)

Absolutely.

Woot (3, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41920379)

First cup of coffee gets first post!

Re:Caffine (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920625)

Perhaps you need another cup; it's "caffeine".

maybe (5, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | about 2 years ago | (#41920353)

I will program something while not being high and see if it makes a difference, later though. So far I am still collecting data points.

tht depends (5, Funny)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41920355)

Is the pot free as in beer or free as in speech

free as in speech - if you do your part (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41920485)

Do a DNA sequence and publish the results under an "open" license.

Spice (5, Funny)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | about 2 years ago | (#41920385)

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains. The stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion

What? (1)

AG the other (1169501) | about 2 years ago | (#41920405)

Exactly what are the drugs supposed to help?

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920467)

You forget how stunningly crap the spec and use cases you've been provided are?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41920525)

In this case, probably non-conventional logic; computers don't operate the way human brains do, it takes a twisted head to program well. Especially if you're attempting to optimize a system using low level programming languages.

Of course, I've said before: Drug tests are mostly to attempt to filter out incompetent low level employees, trending a bit upwards when they're operating dangerous equipment. By the time you're a serious professional, I figure the general attitude is that they don't want to know, but secretly expect you to be able to handle your recreational drug use. IE the difference between a lawyer and a burger flipper is the Lawyer is expected to know how to handle his cocaine habit. IE as long as his performance doesn't degrade unacceptably, he's good.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920537)

Dave's not here man...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920659)

If it is good for programmers, then why not high school teachers also?
good is good
time to light up

Re:What? (2, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | about 2 years ago | (#41920675)

Creative programming and creative problem solving.

Musicians and artists for example do benefit from recreational marijuana use. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine as saying that marijuana helped him write Pet Sounds. Shakespeare, Carl Sagan, Paul McCartney .. the list goes on and on .. have all said that the use of cannabis had a profound positive experience on their creative process.

So it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that cannabis could also provide a mental "boost" to a programmers mindset as well. In terms of problem solving or inspiring creativity.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920727)

Exactly what are the drugs supposed to help?

Wow. I gotta say that this is one of those cases where "If you have to ask..." applies rather well.

When it comes to creative thinking and coming up with solutions that are a bit outside of the box, you may find that this capability increases significantly while under the influence.

And we have several hundred years of history, compromising some of our greatest bodies of work, also done while under the influence, that help reiterate that point.

Why is this not an "Ask Slashdot" question? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920413)

Why is this not an "Ask Slashdot" question?

Re:Why is this not an "Ask Slashdot" question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920479)

They know that the relevant contingent of slashdot that could actually answer this question, is too baked to bother doing so. Instead, it is just a conjecture-fest of people extolling the virtues of how "awesome they program when high on ganj"...

Let me be the first one to say it; you might FEEL like you are in the "programming zone" and being super effective, but I can assure you that you are not. Like any drunk who insists they are the best singer in the whole damn bar, they are only right in their own warped mind. Put down the reefer and get back to work.

If overlap is now causality... (2)

Moraelin (679338) | about 2 years ago | (#41920417)

then Cthulhu t-shirts and mugs and solstice carols are good for programming.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for legalizing drugs. And I don't like it one bit that my tax money goes into making victims of some harmless pot smokers.

But [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cum_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc]cum hoc ergo propter hoc[/url] is a fallacy for a reason.

supremacy clause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920419)

Is this valid? Everything I read indicates that the federal government will threaten to withhold funding to those states and force them to essentially make pot illegal again.

Re:supremacy clause (3, Interesting)

boneglorious (718907) | about 2 years ago | (#41920545)

Sure, this isn't 'the end of it, but these kinds of events are symbolic of the direction the country is moving. A few states trying it out here and there, pretty soon Iowa will be doing it and then it will be all over.

Maybe, maybe not (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41920557)

I don't know those states' referendum laws, but in some states, the legislature cannot, on its own, override a referendum.

The feds can make the voters WISH they'd voted another way by hitting them in the pocketbook, but it may take a full run of the referendum process to roll back these new laws.

Too distracting (3, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#41920425)

*the cat seems to be know something...*
"Dude, did you see where I put that lighter?"
*Must get test routines done for code review tomorrow....*
*Woah.. how'd my browser get on Ebay buying troll dolls?*
"Dude, did you see where I put that lighter?"

LSD and Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920427)

.. Were both developed at Berkley :)

Re:LSD and Unix (2, Informative)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#41920709)

I didnt know Berkley was in Switzerland.

Re:LSD and Unix (4, Funny)

acariquara (753971) | about 2 years ago | (#41920771)

What about crack cocaine and Windows ME?

This Is Disgusting And Sick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920429)

Stick to real news for nerds, timothy. This is how you try to shoehorn a pro-drug agenda on a site ostensibly about geek news?

Promoting this filthy, vile, and destructive habit as "help" is shocking, without even mention the downsides.

Timothy, this is so irresponsible, you should be fired for this.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (0, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41920473)

And you probably drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Sad.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920569)

And you're probably a lazy sack who gets baked and writes circular Ruby on Rails apps.

See what i did there?

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920669)

No I don't, how in the world did you reach that conclusion having no information about me? I thought so. I just destroyed you.

Checkmate.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (-1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41920575)

Don't mod parent down just because you disagree with him/her.

Sure, there are plenty of potheads around here, but there are just as many of us who see recreational drug use for the destructive, distracting habit it is.

Timothy shouldn't be stirring the pot (*cough*) like this.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920721)

You make bizarre assumptions, and state them as fact.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920821)

And you need to troll better.

Re:This Is Disgusting And Sick (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920757)

People like you are the reason why you have many co-workers who smoke pot every day but don't tell you about it.

It sure does (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920437)

Weed does, keeps me more focused and motivated, also helps with giving different perspective on problems solving - big part in programming.

inpaired thinking = bad coding (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920439)

I would expect code produced under the influence to have more bugs, less comments and generally be an unmaintainable mess.

Re:inpaired thinking = bad coding (5, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 2 years ago | (#41920515)

I would expect code produced under the influence to have more bugs, less comments and generally be an unmaintainable mess.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion man.

Re:inpaired thinking = bad coding (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41920711)

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion man.

You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head. Fortunately, I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber.

Re:inpaired thinking = bad coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920535)

It depends on the coder.
I knew someone in college that constantly over thought everything, and the only way he could ever get an assignment done was to get drunk.

Re:inpaired thinking = bad coding (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41920539)

And you'll never figure out why you thought certain parts of it were so funny.

Re:inpaired thinking = bad coding (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about 2 years ago | (#41920681)

Weed, some tunes and coding go together well. The code comes out nice and clean: masterpieces have been written. The only problem IMO productivity lacks a bit, since you're getting distracted by music :)

Impossible to Say (4, Insightful)

OG (15008) | about 2 years ago | (#41920453)

Those who do will of course say that it does and will provide anecdotal evidence (although I'm sure most of them have not actually performed any controlled tests to verify that claim). Most studies would indicate that drugs would not aid in many of the mental processes involved in programming, but that won't change anyone's mind, and I definitive statement can't be made until studies are done to specifically test this assertion.

Re:Impossible to Say (3, Insightful)

jest3r (458429) | about 2 years ago | (#41920775)

Studies are being done [beckleyfoundation.org] . They seem to indicate that cannabis does have a positive influence on the subject's creative performance.

Re:Impossible to Say (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#41920793)

Those who do will of course say that it does and will provide anecdotal evidence (although I'm sure most of them have not actually performed any controlled tests to verify that claim). Most studies would indicate that drugs would not aid in many of the mental processes involved in programming, but that won't change anyone's mind, and I definitive statement can't be made until studies are done to specifically test this assertion.

Agreed, I'm comfortable enough with the understood process of "Addict rationalization" that 100% of the anecdotal evidence can be thrown out at face value. Until some start-up in Colorado offers to out-source brilliant programming to an army of potheads (with positive results) I am going to stick with the studies that are already out there.

I guess we'll see (4, Funny)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41920461)

Voters in both Washington and Colorado approved referenda that legalized marijuana for recreational use

Valve Corporation is an American video game development and digital distribution company based in Bellevue, Washington, United States.

If HL2:EP3 finally comes out, I guess we'll know what to thank.

Too Late for Lab Trials (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41920471)

We'll never have the materials to clinically test this theory on us 60's came-of-agers. We took them all.

Don't bother with the article (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#41920483)

In case you were tempted to RTFA, don't. You have to click through two ad-laden pages, and there really isn't any more information than in the summary.

You forget we're on Slashdot? (1)

AdamStarks (2634757) | about 2 years ago | (#41920635)

Don't worry, I got this.

You're asking the wrong question. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920487)

Could it help programmers? Possibly, if you work in a high-stress environment.

Would it improve the code? Would you want to be the guy who has to maintain code written by another developer who was high?

Does coding while drunk result in good code? For a mentally-intensive task, why would any mind-altering substance be generally beneficial?

Re:You're asking the wrong question. (3, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41920741)

I have seen code produced by a drunk person before, it is ridiculous,
You might think you can, but you cannot code drunk.

Real experience here. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920489)

THC... sometimes for certain people. It helps me focus, and some of the best code I've done has been while stoned.

LSD on the other hand... I can't even read the text on the screen and find it difficult just to play music on my computer. I think that after the fact it leaves one with a more holistic and empathic perspective on life, but it sure as hell can't help you at the time of being high - similarly with pretty much any other psychedelic drug (I have the term hallucinogen, because they don't really make you hallucinate, strictly speaking).

Not exactly (5, Insightful)

JeremyMorgan (1428075) | about 2 years ago | (#41920493)

But I would argue that the type of person who would try recreational drugs is also the type of person that might get into programming. Curious, risk taking and someone who doesn't want to be told what to do or fit into a mold? Yeah sounds about right.

Re:Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920857)

But I would argue that the type of person who would try recreational drugs is also the type of person that might get into programming.

Isn't it more like that the type of person who would try to recreate drugs is the type of person that might get into programming?

Logical fallacy in assuming drugs help (5, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41920501)

Drugs do things to your brain that make you realize certain things.

The fallacy is assuming that the only path to these realizations come through drugs.

(It's worth mentioning that drugs have numerous downsides as well.)

If you learn to meditate, or for those with aversion to religion to "think hard," you'll get everything you could from drugs.

This isn't an anti-drug argument; that's for someone else's thread. It's an argument against assuming drugs can give you something that can't get another way.

If the potential is within the mind, clearly it's the important element, not the drugs.

Re:Logical fallacy in assuming drugs help (2, Insightful)

newyorkdude (844311) | about 2 years ago | (#41920655)

I take it that by drugs, you mean mind-altering drugs. Other than that, it is obvious that drugs help. Consider caffeine. Duh. And there are a thousand others that help and are not significantly mind-altering. Let's not mix up the classes.

Re:Logical fallacy in assuming drugs help (1)

newyorkdude (844311) | about 2 years ago | (#41920823)

Even the same drug can be helpful vs. psychedelic at different doses. Consider LSD. It can help substantially in a number of ways. If low-dose LSD helps you stay off alcoholism, for example, which is entirely possible, you can now begin to have a more productive life immediately.

No, but stoners THINK it does (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41920511)

Had a stoner friend back in school who thought weed made him do everything better. In reality it made him do everything WORSE, but he was too stoned to realize it. Creative people think weed helps them, but it doesn't. That's just some horseshit they've convinced themselves of, as an excuse to smoke more weed.

It's like the old idea among Wall St. types that cocaine allowed them to work harder and longer. Yeah, it does...and also work a lot dumber. Read a quote once from an old-school SNL writer from the late-70's-early 80's who said "Cocaine gives you diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain." Pretty much sums it up for most drugs.

Re:No, but stoners THINK it does (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41920633)

That's just some horseshit they've convinced themselves of, as an excuse to smoke more weed.

No it's because it really makes you feel like you're doing better even if you suck. Your stoner friend was always looking at his own "achievements" through these "weed goggles."

Re:No, but stoners THINK it does (4, Informative)

Triv (181010) | about 2 years ago | (#41920651)

Your friend was doing it wrong. The intoxicant helps draw connections between things you wouldn't've necessarily thought to connect beforehand, gives you ideas, sends you off in an unexpected direction.

The work that derives from that initial idea, the actual making stuff of it, should be done sober.

Re:No, but stoners THINK it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920761)

LSD, THE Problem Solving Psychedelic By Peter Stafford.
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/staf3.htm

short term gain (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920523)

You end up with a short term gain and long term problems. Anyone who tells you different has not reached the other end yet.

For example aderall lets you concentrate to a very effective degree. Until you start need to up the dose to get the same effect. Then you give up and are a wreck for it.

Cocaine makes you spazzy.

Codine sorts of things makes you relaxed and happy until you are full blown addicted to it.

Caffeine makes you a 'bit spazzy' but long term you keep having to up the dose to get the same effect. Then trying to quit = massive I am going to throw up my lungs headaches.

Weed makes you mellow. But eventually you get paranoid.

So yes you can 'hack' your body. But remember sometimes what you do can NOT be undone.

Don't forget, there was a substantial overlap between the wave of computer professionals who came of age in the '60s and that era's counterculture
And there was a non significant number that did not touch it. You are trying to justify a position with spurious thinking. This is usually the words of someone who is doing something they know is stupid yet want to justify it in some way. Just man up and say 'I am doing something stupid'.

Grants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920529)

I will gladly participate in this study should anyone procure the proper lab materials.

Remember Windows ME? (Obligatory XKCD) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920531)

The Ballmer Peak:
http://xkcd.com/323/

Ballmer peak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920541)

Kind of obligated reference : http://xkcd.com/323/

My Programming Stack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920543)

1500mg Test-E EOD, 25mg Deca, 15mg Winny.

More ideas (1)

imurd3r3r (1060246) | about 2 years ago | (#41920559)

I've smoked pot and explored ideas relating to my highly technical job that I feel I wouldn't have otherwise. I drew up elaborate diagrams, worked through highly difficult mathematics to express ideas and actually develop reliable hardware that is still being used by a specialized technical department to train and use in the field. My company employs over 10,000 people. I had a stint of pot smoking for about a year, but quit because I fear losing my job, but in the time that I did, I would venture to say I was more productive than I am now.

Eh it all comes down to moderation (5, Insightful)

areusche (1297613) | about 2 years ago | (#41920561)

As with anything, moderation is key. As I remember from my college days there are a few times where I got so out of it I was couched locked and did not want to do anything.

The typical drug war debate aside, I personally wouldn't toke up every time I had to program. I know how it affects me and sometimes being sober for work is a good thing. Just keep it simple and enjoy it as a treat when your work is done. Just like one would treat alcohol.

The body compensates to anything one throws at it to make up for the temporary gains. It's a zero sum gain sadly. Just enjoy it as a treat or treatment if you really need it for a disease/disability.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920571)

The problem is just like with car drivers under light intoxication: the impression to be better is not the same as being better, and the false impression hurts the results additionally.

Productivity might improve with performance-enhancing drugs, like cocaine, caffeine, amphetamines. But that is not the same as "quality". Heavy abuse of pot is linked to deterioration of analytical capabilities and personality. That's not to say that an occasional shake on the old brain cells might not deliver new ideas, it is just the old problem of keeping it occasional.

Question is meaningless (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41920585)

Over a population, certain individuals will likely benefit from almost anything. Drawing conclusions for the population will be impossible and doing so will produce errors.

Bzz sterpids improve muscle, LSD = yellow submarin (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41920849)

Steroids improve athletic performance. LSD increases ridiculousness (yellow submarine, anyone?) sober helps logic (programming) Sure there will be a few exceptions to any rule, but the rule is still valid.

Yeah (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 2 years ago | (#41920589)

Of course it does. But then it takes hundreds of times as long to remove all the extra bugs written in.

Only in their own mind (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41920591)

A lot of people think they perform better, or are more attractive, or that other people are more attractive (an affliction known as beer goggles) when under the influence of something. All that happens in fact is that their judgement is impaired. There's no reason to think that the application of other mood/mind altering substances: dope, caffeine etc. would improve a mental performance more than it would cloud their judgement. They may well think it improves their programming skills, but that's just another case of poor judgement.

Re:Only in their own mind (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41920851)

The military (not just the US) has done countless studies on the performance enhancing effects of amphetamines. They wouldn't have then adopted policies of giving speed out like candy in combat situations if it impaired performance more than they helped it.

As for hallucinogens, realize that we have two different ideas under discussion here - The "active" effects of taking the drug, and the longer term effects (ie, performance some time after coming down). Not many people will claim they can code well on acid; but does it help someone grasp an algorithm in new and useful ways, by having a frame of reference for tangibly experiencing (if not literally "seeing") other abstractions?

Neckbeards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920593)

I've always drawn a fine line between "neckbeards" and "hippies."

The line has always been something like: "hippies do recreational drugs and talk about how enlightening it is, but neckbeards do recreational drugs and actually become enlightened."

Pretty much goes without saying, without weirdo outliers and queers the world would be a pretty boring and primitive place.

MDXX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920601)

I had to go to work the day after an Event with MDMA in my system still, found myself with certain music able to submerse myself in the environment and focus on what I needed to accomplish.

Not with programming, but with other hobbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920609)

If I use a vaporizer I can code, but if I smoke I can't at all. It doesn't help me, it just makes it hard to concentrate. On the other hand, I do smoke fairly often and I work for one of the best contracting firms in the U.S (based in Boulder, CO).

It does help me tremendously when I draw, play guitar or exercise. Helps me relax (mind and muscles) after a few days of the stress building up (usually around Wednesday for me).

Also a huge help when doing any type of biology or physics.

computers and drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920631)

Of course psychedelics are extremely helpful for all types of creative thinking. That being said, there needs to be a foundation to work with. There needs to be "demons" i.e. patterns of experience coded into the brain, which will form the substrate,if you will for creative breakthroughs, which means learning and hard work at whatever art or craft the person is focused. Psychedelics can be a major boost.

Correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920641)

Instead of making a correlation between drug use and good programming, the question should be if the people who come up with the creative solutions to unique problems (good coders) also have a predilection towards using mind altering substances or just in participating in activities that go against the grain of what is today our norm in society.
 

Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920643)

I've worked in the Seattle area for a bit over a decade and voted to approve the new legislation involving marijuana.

I'm not aware of any of my co-workers during the last ten years who did drugs. Most of them excercise regularly, try to eat a healthy diet, and have a number of physical and intellectual pursuits, and a very involved family life. I can't say that they don't use marijuana, but it seems unlikely they would use it on a regular basis given the negative impact it has.

I voted to approve it because while I think using recreational drugs is a very risky and unwise choice, making them illegal has not helped people make better choices. I feel the 'War on Drugs' is a failure (and I'm tired of everything being a 'War') and want us as a society to move onto a new experiment.

Dealing with Management (5, Insightful)

micron (164661) | about 2 years ago | (#41920645)

Recreational drugs serve more as a device to cope with Management than they do for any other aspects of developing code.

Anecdotal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920649)

Posting anon for obvious reasons.. I use pot recreationally (not everyday or anything), and although I wouldn't say it particularly helps me code, it does help me find good solutions to problems I am stuck on. So, often, I've used it and then put some time and effort into thinking about a problem I'm having, and it helps me think in a different way.

But, I guess YMMV.

Chemicals get you around tough and/or boring jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920653)

I've been a professional programmer for 21 years, and I'll admit I've written some of my best code in the middle of the night, fueled by caffeine and alcohol.

hi (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41920661)

Here's the expanded question:

In the end, I think the main question really is, can the use of “mind expanding” drugs (hallucinogens) help programmers to “think outside the box” and come up with more solutions (or more creative solutions) to difficult problems?

And really, by now, it is extremely rare that I have to think outside the box. 99.9% of what I program is a combination of things I've done before, or learning how someone else's API works. Coming up with a new algorithm is rare.

But Brain, where ya gonna get... (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#41920663)

Interesting idea, but one problem...

Where the hell would you find any drug-free programmers to use as a control group?

I suppose you group them into tweakers (stimulant users) vs psychonauts (hallucinogen users), using the FDA's standard "best known therapy as the control" protocols...

Wrong priority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920665)

Drugs and alcohol didn't improve my output, rather I'd say it and getting older slightly reduced my productivity. On the other hand I'm no longer a lone hypertense wreck that was convinced I'd end up either killing myself and/or lots of people before the age of 30.

try it with a different word (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41920677)

Does alcohol help programming? Does any poison help programming? I don't know, why should a poison or any substance help an activity like that?

You can simply enjoy your poison, especially if it's legal (and all of them should be legal, including heroin and lsd, everything, nothing should be restricted by gov't), but don't try and justify your habits this way.

No, poisons do not help programming. They also do not help engineering or driving.

Back to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920683)

... Guru Meditation ?

I have dealt with stoned programmers on the work-site, beside some funny weird behavior they constantly forgot to properly end statements in their code.
But much fun getting them to debug after they sobered up.

Every stoner thinks they are geniuses when stoned. (2)

MEC2 (1855148) | about 2 years ago | (#41920693)

Every stoner thinks they are geniuses when stoned. Even geniuses. I famously recall Carl Sagan commenting on his and his wife's drug use and how he felt his writing process was more elucidated while high on marijuana.

Of course, every stoner thinks they are Carl Sagan when high. "Man, l can like totally see it now, it's like, there are like billions and billions... served at this McDonalds..."

Merit is it's own virtue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920695)

How about this: Good programmers are good programmers because they're talented. Whether or not they use drugs or alcohol probably doesn't have much effect on that. Other than, perhaps it allows them to sit in one place for a long period of time and not be concerned with other things that would drag them away from the task. Relaxing helps lots of things, but it's also occasionally counter-productive. Pros and cons exist in every scenario. Can we stop looking for justification for recreational drug use? I personally don't have a problem with mary jane, even though I don't use it myself. What baffles me is that, "I want to" never seems to be enough justification for doing so. If you like recreational drugs and you can use them without destroying your life, and the lives of those who depend on you then, "I like it" is justification enough for me; it should be for the person actually using them as well.

Evolution (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41920715)

They very well might improve imagination, but for serious scientific tasks no.
Some might keep you awake, and improve your typing speed, but they will also have you making more mistakes (and have you suffering longitudinal problems from lack of sleep).

If there was a way for out current body/brain structure to be improved with just a little stimulation then evolution would of picked up on that missing feature a long time ago.

My predecessor was stoned. Smoke AFTER work (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41920731)

I'm fairly certain my predecessor was stoned or tripping acid when he wrote the code I have to maintain and I have no doubt he THOUGHT he was writing good code. Code is basically logic, math. Logic and drugs don't go together. Please get high AFTER work, not while coding.

No. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41920755)

With the amount of evidences that shows it hurt productivity, I'm not sure why anyone thinks thins is a controversy.

Have these people ever worked with stoned people?

Steve Jobs (1)

theangrypeon (1306525) | about 2 years ago | (#41920763)

Discussion over.

Re:Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920867)

I might be wrong, but I assume he didn't actually code. Same with Bill Gates. (Except at the beginning of the company). Get other brighter programmers to do it and focus on company strategy and high-level innovation.

-8 IQ Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920767)

I would think more IQ points == better programmer.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/27/cannabis-damaging-under-18s-study

Confidence Boosters (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41920799)

Well if you take a drug that boosts your confidence, you will think you just wrote the best code of your life.

Cannabis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920815)

Posting AC for obvious reasons, but I've got my two cents to add about pot use.
Used responsibly, I've found it to be intensely therapeutic and life improving. (Responsible meaning don't get blazed every day, don't got to work/school stoned, don't make a jackass of yourself in public stoned. Just treat it like alcohol and you'll be fine)
While the experience itself fun and relaxing, I've noticed a huge reduction in the social anxiety I've suffered with all my life. It's vastly improved my personal life and my productivity at work. I've gotten praise from all of my bosses about my "improved communication skills". (I used to have a huge problem with that annoying geek superiority complex)
I don't know if it's a result of the rather deep internal reflection during meditative state it puts me in, or the lingering effects of cannabanoid accumulation. (They linger in your system for a good 22ish days) But I imbibe very infrequently and still gain the positive benefits for weeks afterward.

And that's about it. I'm not sick, or in pain. I just do it for fun. The life improving aspects were simply a nice side effect.

100 years of brainwashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41920819)

There is a large amount of research showing that THC can heighten ones ability to focus as well as problem/puzzle solve. Of course anyone posting with comments including the word "druggie" and "stoners" already has their blinders on so this research won't matter to them, they of course already know better. Enjoy you cigarettes and alcohol, they are the only morally acceptable drugs anyway.

it might help with the problem, not the coding. (1)

Pirulo (621010) | about 2 years ago | (#41920841)

Sometimes when I go to long thinking on a problem, I stop and have a beer or a glass of wine, a bit after that, the brains changes the way it thinks about the problem. Often times this brings a better/faster abstract solution and worst/buggier code.
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