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Not Enough Women In Computing, Or Too Many Men?

bebemochi Re:Women don't generally work stressful jobs... (686 comments)

Most women that are employed hold jobs that are unproductive. Teaching (non-sense in the public schools mind you), planning a company party, selling Gucci hand bags, or posing for Playboy are not good ways to grow an economy.

This is sarcasm, right? ...right?? (If not, errrr, you do realize that A. men also do those jobs you list, B. you'd better have a cite for "most women", C. define "unproductive" versus "productive". Because saying that teaching children is unproductive is quite possibly the most idiotic thing I've ever read in my life. You typed your comment yourself, right? So, who TAUGHT you how to read and write? Where'd you learn how to use a computer? Are you using knowledge you gained from teachers in your life? Yeah.)

more than 4 years ago
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Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

bebemochi I had to use 1280x720 on a 24" monitor (1231 comments)

Jaunty handled my 24" 16:9 iiyama just fine at its native resolution of 1920x1080. Upgraded to Karmic... it autodetected the native res fine, except that it's practically unusable. Screen is blank except, oddly enough, for the toolbars, which display fine. Email and gedit display when run, but nothing else does. I've looked for workarounds, none worked, ended up having to file a bug. Another guy with the same monitor and better Linux skills than I is just as stumped. Meanwhile I feel like I've gone back in time 15 years, because the only res that works properly on my monitor is the lower 16:9 at 1280x720. At 24" it reminds me of the pixellization on an old 800x600 res monitor. My eyes, my eyes...

more than 4 years ago
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Tour Companies Battle Over Trademarked Duck Noises

bebemochi Re:I really can clap with one hand (251 comments)

You too!?! Hurray, I'm not the only one. When I was a kid I could never understand the mystery behind that koan - it was only once I'd grown up a bit that I realized almost no one else can clap with one hand.

Great fun indeed with Zen types.

more than 4 years ago
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EMC Co-Founder Committs Suicide

bebemochi My grandfather took that very option (538 comments)

He had lung cancer AND prostate cancer. Late-stage lung cancer is horrible. My grandfather made use of the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon to request assisted suicide; we all supported his choice. It's hard not to when you see an intelligent, once-active man become delirious from pain, and bedridden due to having to be hooked up to machines that keep him from drowning to death (fluids in the lungs).

I'm one of the Oregon voters who voted twice for Death with Dignity, and am very glad that my grandfather was able to die at his own choosing, in a humane manner. (I don't think having to grab a shotgun and shoot yourself in the head, plus knowing others will find you and have to witness the scene, is humane - I say it not against Egan, but because I wish Egan had had a better choice.)

more than 4 years ago
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uSocial Sells Twitter Followers By the Thousand

bebemochi Narcissism (118 comments)

There are people who like to say "I have A THOUSAND followers!!" much like Dr. Evil thought he was oh-so-impressive demanding "one MILLION dollars!!". On the surface it sounds good to have so many followers, and these sorts of people are probably boasting to non-twitterers (non-twits?) who won't know any better. Kind of like how some bloggers cite the number of hits they get -- not the number of unique visitors. Ego inflation pure and simple. Been around since the dawn of humanity ("hurrr me have bigger stick!!!") and will likely be around until its sunset.

more than 5 years ago
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Hospital Confirms Steve Jobs's Liver Transplant

bebemochi And here in the first world (402 comments)

I pay about a dollar to go to the doctor. Any doctor of my choice. Emergency procedures are covered at 100%, and our doctors are damned good. With my third-party private insurance that covers extras not covered by government insurance, I also get 100% free dental and eye coverage. I can get a free pair of eyeglasses every single year (so long as I have a prescription for them, and getting that prescription is free).

What is this non-mythical first-world country I live in?! Why, it's France!

Sure, life isn't fair. But sitting there barking "life isn't fair! get over it!" is pretty damned lazy when it IS possible to do something to help make it more fair. No one decides "oh hey, I think I'd like to get breast cancer today" or "damn! I'm so happy that guy ran a red light and turned me into a quadraplegic!" So why the hell should their lives be ruined, when all it takes is everyone pooling a bit of money? For eff's sake, I only pay 80 euros a month towards national health care and 20 a month for the private insurance. One hundred euros a month. That's it. And I get to choose my doctors, my hospitals, my laboratories, everything.

As for the inevitable cries of "omg socialism!!" Americans (I am one, so don't anyone take it the wrong way) seriously need to grow up and realize that in the case of European democracies, they are, um, you know, DEMOCRACIES. As in the people voted for governments that set up these programs, and continue to vote for them.

more than 5 years ago
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Broke Counties Turn Failing Roads To Gravel

bebemochi Cobblestone and reduced speed (717 comments)

You're absolutely right about brick and stone roads keeping speeds down. I live in Nice (France) and they recently redid part of the city center roads after putting in the tramway. On a particularly wide road (the one that goes along Place Masséna) that practically everyone sped on, which of course caused pedestrian fatalities, they removed the asphalt and replaced it with cobblestone to slow down drivers. No one goes over the 50km/h speed limit any more! They do the same in Helsinki, where practically all the roads are cobblestone in the city center. It's not so much a sense of history (though that's certainly part of the reason) as it is a practical and aesthetic way to keep down driving speeds.

more than 5 years ago
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Broke Counties Turn Failing Roads To Gravel

bebemochi You haven't been on enough French roads (717 comments)

There are dirt roads in several rural areas and parcs départementaux (roughly equivalent to US county & state parks). The ones in my part of France -- the southeast (yes, the French Riviera, no, I'm not rich :) ) -- are a mix of packed dirt and "gravel" that's actually the ground-up naturally-occurring rock here. I go mountain biking on many of them. (The gravel isn't thin and slippery like in the US, but consists of larger chunks, and it doesn't cover the entire road surface, so it's quite all right to ride on.)

You are right that the French take very good care of their roads -- that would be the taxes that amount to 70% of the price of gas here, which is about four or five times more expensive per gallon than in the US, and, for autoroutes (highways), all the toll stations. (It's so expensive to have a car here that I don't have one. I take public transportation, which costs me a whopping [that's sarcasm] 40 euros a month total, and that does indeed include my commute to and from work.)

more than 5 years ago
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The Myth of the Mathematics Gender Gap

bebemochi That's obtuse (588 comments)

You're ignoring the fact that women were actively, wilfully, consistently kept out of higher academics and especially from publishing -- even fiction -- until quite recent history. How are there supposed to be women equivalents if women couldn't even study beyond high school, were laughed at if they wanted to publish anything (unless they used a male pseudonym and had a male friend present it) and were being pushed to get married and have babies ASAP? (Keep in mind there was no birth control, so they'd have several, with the attendant responsibilities. Oh and, their husbands weren't expected to help them beyond finances.)

more than 5 years ago
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Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology

bebemochi Anonymous editors can't edit protected pages (665 comments)

And the Scientology page is protected (I just checked with my well-established Wikipedia account):

Editing Scientology
Note: This page has been semi-protected so that only established users can edit it.

They'll have to be a bit more devious.

more than 5 years ago
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Where To Buy A Machine With Linux Pre-Installed

bebemochi Re:Worse than installing Windows: doing it twice (229 comments)

Oh yes it does still happen. Because if your hard copy of XP is pre-SP2, you can no longer install SP2 from a downloaded .exe -- it won't let you. You *have* to connect to the internet to download it! Connect to the Internet with a pre-SP2 XP box!!

Mine was infected about ten seconds after plugging in the Ethernet cable. WITH a firewall running -- that's how I knew it had been compromised (forget which firewall, because that was last year and I said "#*@* this, I'm installing Ubuntu" and haven't looked back).

more than 5 years ago
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Social Networking Behavioral Agreements At Work?

bebemochi Answer, if you're seriously asking the question (326 comments)

Not sure if you're being brilliantly disingenuous, but your aside at the end leads me to believe that there's a possibility you honestly don't get it. (That and the fact that I met someone in real life who'd never seen, nor even heard of, "The Princess Bride" two days ago, and who was being utterly serious with me.) It's funny because it refers to a running joke in Monty Python's The Holy Grail:
Scene 1, swallow carrying a coconut
And spoiler alert if you've not seen the movie, don't read this (it really is much better to experience the dénouement by watching the film): Scene 23, the Bridge of Death

more than 5 years ago
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In France, Fired For Writing To MP Against 3 Strikes

bebemochi Why it's "insightful" (379 comments)

Because it makes the segment of Americans who have never gone overseas, and who are scared shitless at the direction their country's taken, feel better by being able to point to a nebulous entity that, in their minds, is "socialist Europe", and spout ill-informed tropes about bad plumbing, terrible quality of life, and, oh, that whole "evil socialism" thing. And how those spoiled, cowardly, snooty Yer'peens are gonna get their due, oh yeah! In so doing, these scared-shitless Americans feel immensely better about themselves. Thus, to them, it is "insightful".

(Please note that I specified a segment of Americans and defined that segment. Thank you. Also, I'm American.)

more than 5 years ago
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In France, Fired For Writing To MP Against 3 Strikes

bebemochi Yeah, never mind that they were right (379 comments)

You know, about the US' stated premise for war being a brazen lie that was eventually admitted to by Bush. Oh wait no, look over there, quick, before we Americans admit any wrongdoing! Look, look! France had a few minor oil contracts with Iraq! Shhhh don't say anything about our interests, shh, quiet, FREEDOM FRIES! US IS THE BEST! YEEAAAAH! (just pretend those WMD really existed and we'll be fine, yah, yah...)

more than 5 years ago
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NASA In Colbert Conundrum Over Space Station

bebemochi Good thing NASA is American then (398 comments)

And that his full name was given in the summary: Stephen Colbert. (Sorry to snark, because I'm an American who lives in Europe [France even], but honestly...)

more than 5 years ago
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Shouldn't Every Developer Understand English?

bebemochi Precisely (1077 comments)

I'm a professional translator and editor who now works with a major IT consulting company based in France (I'm American, and bilingual). The day that native English speakers can consistently communicate without a problem... will never come. Ever. It ain't gonna happen.

What makes people think that having non-native speakers communicate in English will make things better? As a translator, I have a job precisely because non-native speakers cannot communicate at native level in a foreign language. Keep in mind that I am saying that as a very fluent speaker of French (and I speak several other languages too): I am aware that I'll never be a native French speaker. You can get near-native, but will always be "wired" for your native language, which is different. For instance, I recently worked on a 6-month project translating specs into English for a French telecoms company. They told me that "puits de données" was "data mining". It's not. "Puits de données" is a "data sink". Dictionaries confirm. But do you know what happened? They didn't believe the dictionaries. Their engineers, who barely speak a word of English (which is normal, that's not meant as criticism), and who work with not one single native English speaker, forced me to use "data mining". It's perfectly understandable to an English speaker... and it's wrong. This happens All. The. Time. I cannot emphasize enough how often it happens. I know from personal experience that I do the same thing in French -- I'll be talking about something that makes perfect sense to everyone involved, except it turns out I've used a French word that doesn't mean what I think it means, and so that sense everyone thought was understood? Was actually completely different for me, and for the native French speakers. Now, I started learning French when I was 10 years old, have my B.A. in French (magna cum laude, even), studied for a year in France, and have lived in France for 11 years. So it's not because I have bad French skills -- it's merely because I'm non-native, and am "wired" for English.

It seems that IT people tend to conflate programming languages with spoken languages. But you cannot speak a language like you program one. Why? The compiler is not a static entity: it's a human mind. Human minds are all unique and different. When you're born into one language, that language essentially becomes your "compiler", but even then, you're still human and aren't going to be 100% compatible with other speakers of your own language. MUCH less so, then, when you learn a foreign language. It's a fact of life -- and not a depressing one! It's quite mind-opening to experience how differently life is interpreted by people around the world. Many things we take for granted as being "identical" really are not.

Solutions? The best one I've seen is to have two people who are very fluently bilingual present for discussions, and for documentation, an experienced translator who is a native speaker of the language being translated to (this is standard practice in translations, by the way). For example, in France, a native English speaker who is fluent in French, and a native French speaker who is fluent in English. Things get pounded out much more quickly, and others with lower language skills can speak their respective languages and still be understood. I've seen this in action and it really works. Furthermore, it builds mutual respect since everyone is able to speak their own language, and not feel "pushed aside" or left out by being forced to speak a non-native language that is native for the others. There's nothing worse than being unable to communicate what you mean with people who have it vastly easier.

more than 5 years ago
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Audit the Fed Governors

bebemochi Cascadian defense & riches (41 comments)

Just to add to what you say. There are quite a few military bases in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, not the least of which is a frigging nuclear submarine base: Strategic Weapons Facility, Bangor, Washington.

Cascadia is extremely rich in natural resources -- we export most of them since there's more than enough to go around. And guess where a sizeable amount of California's drinking water and electricity come from? Hint: it ain't all from California. It has more water-gifted neighbors. (Y'know, the neighbors people tease because they get so much rain. And I tried to find a cite for this, but my Google-fu is not sufficient and I don't really have the time... suffice to say that painting the Pacific Northwest as helpless and poor is quaintly ignorant.)

more than 5 years ago
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Places Where the World's Tech Pools, Despite the Internet

bebemochi Sophia Antipolis (France) (229 comments)

I was surprised to see no mention of anywhere in Europe besides Finland and Romania. I've lived in Finland, and most of my friends were Nokia employees -- if Seattle got an honorable mention because it's overshadowed by Microsoft, then it should have been the same for Finland, which is dominated by Nokia. (Yes, Finland has excellent technology schools, and of course, Linus Torvalds, but that too isn't much different from Seattle.)

In France there's Sophia Antipolis, which is the "French Silicon Valley". HP, France Telecom/Orange, the European headquarters of the W3C, and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute are some of the big names here, then there's a plethora of IT consulting companies, called "SSII" in French, and several different technology schools and a university. Not sure how or why it was overlooked.

more than 5 years ago
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Spider Bite Allows Man To Walk Again

bebemochi They don't HIRE proofreaders any more (221 comments)

(Yes, this is offtopic.) I used to be a freelance copyeditor in addition to my main translation and writing activities. While I was good enough not to be put in difficulty by problems in the business (things had become shaky before the economy definitively went south), I've seen many others get less work, and crap copy being put out by companies that previously had everything proofread. The downturn in the quality of news writeups recently has been noticeable to me too -- the last few months I've seen horrid mistakes in Reuters and AP articles; the kind of mistakes I'd rarely, if ever, seen from them before.

One of the known truths in the writing/copyediting industry is that editors and writers are among the first to go when purse strings get tight. Even in a good economy, it's not an easy thing to convince non-writers that quality proofreading has a real, positive effect on image. Many higher-ups just don't seem to understand how much credibility their company loses and how much damage their image takes with bad copy, so they stop hiring proofreaders entirely, and tell their writers to pay more attention... except these types will have let go of expensive (read: good) writers to take on cheaper (worse) ones, "because anyone can write." So you get copy that reads like a middle schooler's report for Social Studies.

more than 5 years ago

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