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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

FriendlyPrimate RE: Programming as a vocation! (491 comments)

I am looking to hire 3 student programmers right now, and even amongst our best candidates, they can't write a simple 4-line script to output a file to screen. They are very, very smart students, but they don't have any skills! Employers need workers with practical experience, and in general WANT workers who have lots of experience with specific software.

If they're very, very smart, couldn't you just ...*gasp*... train them?

I guess I'm an old fogey. I remember a time when skills were learned through work experience. A company trained you in what you needed to know, and the company got a good return on investment on a grateful life-long employee.

Nowadays, companies expect experience programmers to just appear out-of-nowhere. Or they blame universities for not producing experienced programmers fresh out of college suited to their exact needs. That was NEVER the purpose of college. The purpose was to provided fundamental knowledge that could be built-upon in the real world.

Sorry...but when I hear arguments from a manager complaining about not finding experienced talent, it's nothing more than hearing complained from cheapskates about not being able to find free lunches.

about 2 months ago
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US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

FriendlyPrimate Seriously? What has happened to Slashdot? (401 comments)

Haha, it takes a special type of person to fall for such obvious smears, when they are so obviously made up whole cloth.

How on Earth did "Slashdot, News for Nerds" turn into this? Maybe I'm getting old, but I used to remember Slashdot being the place to go to find interesting and insightful information about science. The comments used to be the best part of Slashdot. They almost always provided interesting additional information on a topic above and beyond what was provided by the articles.

But now we get childish anti-science potshots making it up to score 5, Informative? What the heck happened? Has Slashdot been taken over by commenting shrills paid by the Koch brothers? Or did all the intelligent Slashdotters simply leave long ago? If so, could someone please tell me where they went?

about 2 months ago
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US Treasury Completes Bailout of General Motors

FriendlyPrimate Re:I think... (425 comments)

That if GM had collapsed, it would have created a huge vacuum, that would have rapidly been filled with new startups. The automotive industry could have gotten a big injection of "new" and we'd have maybe dozens of Tesla-like automotive companies.

Try not to take this the wrong way, but I do find this common libertarian faith in capitalism to be very naive. The belief that letting the market decide everything is the best approach is just bizarre to me. It may be a good way of allocating resources efficiently, but it's also a recipe for economic inequality and environmental catastrophe.

If GM had collapsed, it's not just GM that would have disappeared. There were MANY perfectly solvent suppliers that would have also gone out of business. These companies employ millions of people. With no cash flow, they cannot survive until these "new startups" get off the ground. How long do you think it takes to create a car company from scratch?

And what would happen to all of these unemployed workers while all these startups are starting over from scratch? Economists were estimating the unemployment rate would have been around 15%-20% if the entire auto industry was allowed to fail. What effects would this have been on the remainder of the economy?

Any what makes you believe that this vacuum would be filled with startups in the United States? It's much cheaper to start a company in China where you can simply dump your waste in rivers, and where you don't have to worry about stuff like worker safety. It's been reported in National Geographic that 70% of rivers and lakes in China contain water unsuitable for ANIMAL consumption. Our environmental regulations put the United States at an economic disadvantage since Chinese companies effectively don't have to spend money on reducing their pollution. And their workforce is accustomed to living on slave wages, having to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to make enough money to survive. And if a worker gets hurt or dies, there's plenty of replacements ready and able.

However, from a pure libertarian perspective, you're essentially right. The market would have adjusted and allocated resources in the most efficient way. The winners would have been factory owners and investors in China, and to a lesser extent workers in China whose wages and working environment would have improved somewhat, but still much lower than that enjoyed by American workers. American workers would have been decimated because from a purely economic viewpoint, they simply cannot compete with cheap labor and lax regulation overseas.

So sorry, but screw your libertarian beliefs if they mean I need to work for slave wages 7 days a week to survive, only to die at a young age due to emphysema or cancer because of pollution.

about 4 months ago
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Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated By Half

FriendlyPrimate Same goes for Doctors. (534 comments)

If a doctor tells me I have cancer, and then later tells me it's progressing twice as fast as originally thought, of course that causes me to lose confidence in doctors and thus ignore anything they have to say. Instead, I'll go listen to the homeopathy providers who keep telling me that doctors don't know what they're talking about, and aren't always telling me that I'm going to die. After all, doctors are only interested in making money.

about 5 months ago
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How Much Should You Worry About an Arctic Methane Bomb?

FriendlyPrimate Re:More hoax maskerading as "science" (416 comments)

This spring and summer in the United States has been closer to the long term average than most previous years. However, you have to look at what's happening globally. Right now, Europe and Asia are experiencing ALL-TIME record heat: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2483

Over the past decade, record high temperatures have occurred twice as often as record low temperatures. Even in a warming climate, we would expect to see times when the weather is colder than normal, even record breaking cold. However, the fact that the number of high-temperature records far exceeds the number of low-temperature records is strong proof of a warming climate. A single 'nice summer' is not proof of anything.

about 8 months ago
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How Climate Scientists Parallel Early Atomic Scientists

FriendlyPrimate Re:Honesty? (440 comments)

I doubt that very much. Your argument sounds nice but logically it makes no sense. The "conservatives" would have wanted to make it sound MORE scary, not less. Since largely speaking it was the liberals, not the conservatives, who were pushing the "global warming" agenda, it would only make sense that THEY were behind the change to make it "less scary" to the public.

Huh? That makes no sense! The conservatives are the ones trying to downplay global warming. They use the following arguments (depending on which one suites them at the moment):

  • 1. Deny that global warming exists.
  • 2. Admit it exists, but that it's normal and nothing to be concerned about.
  • 3. Admit it exists and something to be concerned about, but that it's too late to do anything.

Trying to make global warming less scary is just part of #2 on that list. Frank Luntz even admits that what they were trying to do... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz#Global_warming

I can't tell if you're for real or just a troll. Your original question sounds like you're asking an honest question, yet all your subsequent responses appear to show that your mind is made up on the subject and you're not looking for answers.

about 9 months ago
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How Climate Scientists Parallel Early Atomic Scientists

FriendlyPrimate Re:Honesty? (440 comments)

Absolutely correct.

The whole argument that climatologists are pushing climate change for profit makes no sense at all. If that's what they really cared about, they could make WAY more money working for the oil industry producing studies refuting climate change.

about 9 months ago
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How Climate Scientists Parallel Early Atomic Scientists

FriendlyPrimate Re:Honesty? (440 comments)

The term "Climate Change" has been around since at least the 1950's (see http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=326).

"Climate Change" is more common now thanks to conservative think tanks who made a concerted effort to use that term in the early 2000s because it was considered "less scary" than global warming. Scientists went along with it because "Climate Change" is technically more accurate anyway and they are not particularly good at playing politics.

You've got to envy the Republicans in their ability to twist language to suit their needs.

about 9 months ago
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Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen To Good Workers

FriendlyPrimate Re:Agree (1201 comments)

Why won't you stupid idiots let me work at your crappy company for jerks?

about 2 years ago
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IT Positions Some of the Toughest Jobs To Fill In US

FriendlyPrimate What ever happened to training? (886 comments)

Perhaps I'm starting to get old, but I seem to remember the good old days when companies were less concerned with skills and more concerned with hiring honest, hard working employees, and then TRAINING them. Not only did you end up with employees with the exact skills you needed, you also got employees who were loyal to the company and weren't going to leave for greener pastures at the slightest drop of a hat.

I suspect that the business executives knew all along that this was going to be the long-term outcome when they replaced lifetime career employees with "fluid players". But the short term monetary incentives were just too much for them to turn down at the time, and nothing beyond next quarter's numbers matter to them anyway.

about 2 years ago
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How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

FriendlyPrimate Re:There won't be an end to insurance (648 comments)

And if this is one of the Google cars posting messages, I sure hope it's paying attention to the road right now.

about 2 years ago
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How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

FriendlyPrimate Re:There won't be an end to insurance (648 comments)

The Console font indicates that this is a response from a computer. Is this one of the Google cars posting messages?

about 2 years ago
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Tidal Heating Shrinks Goldilocks Zone Around Red Dwarfs

FriendlyPrimate Re:arguement should cut both ways (70 comments)

It wouldn't be that strange. Europa is theorized to have a liquid ocean due to tidal heating.

about 2 years ago
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Cringely Predicts IBM Will Shed 78% of US Employees By 2015

FriendlyPrimate IBM is getting out of software development. (273 comments)

I'll let everyone in on a little secret. IBM is getting rid of most of its software developers because it wants to get out of the software development business. The reason is because they, for a variety of reasons, produce mediocre software, and the executives know it.

IBM's strength is its sales channels. It can command high prices for it's software because it is a trusted brand, and it's very good at strong-arming customers into purchasing expensive complicated solutions once they get their foot in the door.

IBM's new software business model is as follows....
1) Find holes in their "portfolio" for providing end-to-end solutions for customers.
2) Purchase existing companies where that software is already implemented (e.g. Rational, ILOG, Green Hat, Cognos, Buildforge, Telelogic, etc...)
3) Sell said software at much higher prices than the original company could have ever gotten away with.
4) Reduce headcount by eliminating developers from purchased company, replacing them with offshore developers whose only purpose is to "maintain" the newly acquired software. Also, eliminate less-profitable niche products and lay off those developers except for the cream of the crop.
5) Reap huge profits.
6) Repeat.

Check out the list of companies they've acquired...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_IBM#Acquisitions_since_1999

So don't think that the executives at IBM are idiots. They're not. They've found a way to squeeze tons of profits from existing software companies. They have no reason to care about employee morale. They don't need developers. They've got too many as it is from all of these acquired companies. Bad morale means employees will leave on their own, meaning they don't have to pay severance.

Also, IBM typically purchases companies for a handful of their product line. That leaves lots of smaller software products that IBM simply has no use for (not a large enough market, duplication of product lines, etc...). Often, "rebalancing" means chopping these products out of existence. IBM has literally THOUSANDS of these small niche products that it wants to eliminate.

So for developers, it sucks, because the IBM executives have no need for you anymore. There's no reason for IBM to produce its own software anymore. Why risk starting development on a complex product when you can just purchase the finished product? You're nothing more than a "resource" that they have too much of and which needs to be reduced through "resource actions".

But for executives and shareholders, it's a wonderful arrangement. Don't be fooled....IBM can be profitable doing this for a very long time. Please keep in mind that IBM reducing US headcount from 130k to 90k is misleading. That number does not include the huge number of employees that they've absorbed through acquisitions. They've laid off many more than 40k US employees, and they have no reason to stop now.

about 2 years ago
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Obama Pushes For Cheaper Pennies

FriendlyPrimate Re:Why not round to 10c? (825 comments)

Oh...I forgot the best part...

4) Profit! (for federal government)

more than 2 years ago
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Obama Pushes For Cheaper Pennies

FriendlyPrimate Why not round to 10c? (825 comments)

1) Get rid of pennies, nickels, and quarters.
2) Replace 50c coins with something nickel-sized. (dollar coins are already quarter-sized)
3) Switch to a deci-dollar based system (e.g. $0.1)

Voila, you have a coins of $0.1 (dime sized), $0.5 (nickel sized), $1.0 (quarter sized) where the coin size is proportional to value. And you just reduced the number of coins in half.

more than 2 years ago
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New Exoplanet Is Best Yet Candidate For Supporting Life

FriendlyPrimate Re:What if we go there? (288 comments)

So a planet with about the same surface gravity as Earth, and no iron core. Sounds like a good chance this planet has no magnetic field, and therefore no atmosphere either.

more than 2 years ago
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Some Critics Suggest Apple Boycott Over Chinese Working Conditions

FriendlyPrimate It's called leverage... (744 comments)

The fact that "everybody is doing it" is irrelevant. People made the same claims about Nike too. But bad press and market pressure made Nike change their ways. Overall, this led to better work conditions for Nike workers.

If you want to improve working conditions for everyone, you've got to strike someone first. Apple has benefited immensely from Chinese labor. Once Apple has caved and improved work conditions for their employees, THEN you can go after the rest (by threatening to only buy Apple products if they don't mend their ways).

It's called leverage.

more than 2 years ago
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Autonomous Vehicles and the Law

FriendlyPrimate Re:Likely to be adopted elsehwere, far before in U (417 comments)

Even if it is adopted in a place like China, don't expect it to make a difference in the US. As you've already pointed out, intercity travel is fast and comfortable in Europe using trains, but Americans are blissfully unaware of anything that occurs outside of the states.

more than 2 years ago

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