Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?
For very basic programming, the core is functional decomposition (breaking things down into manageable components). This is a hearty part of critical thinking, and problem solving.
Having more people familiar with that would help solve a lot of things.
Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast
Subtle does not have the biggest effect on a person's view of the world. Obvious does.
Subtle is if I try to get your attention by tapping you on the shoulder gently.
Obvious is if I whack you round the head with a cricket bat to gain your attention.
There are points when subtle does not matter one jot. It's used for delicacy and very minute adjustments (thus, subtle).
Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?
Depends on the scale of the data center.
If somewhere has the big bucks to spend on the high end, and shells out the big bucks to get great people, then sure. Core and powershell is the way to go.
However, there are a huge amount of places that still need a gui (hell, external vendors doing installs can be a problem on core, as they usually need GUIs to do config work).
GUI is still useful, though becoming deprecated on a server. Doesn't mean we're there yet.
But nothing needs metro on the server desktop. That's adding cruft to an established utility for no gain whatsoever. None. It shouldn't be there.
Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
There are graphics languages starting to appear (like Scratch), which let you build blocks of code up, without really understanding what code is. There's also a shot at converting natural language requests to SQL.
It will be suitable for some thing, but there will be a definite limit. And that's part of what you need to define very early on.
If you're trying to work on something that just needs to work out simple cycles, and get some very basic, and pretty general work done, then sure. You can do that, but your mathematical error bars increase in size for all the parts that you don't consider.
If you just work at a high level, sure.. But the chance for error/misunderstanding creeps in massively, the closer to spoken/natural language, or the closer the program is to a set of building blocks you can add together.
The reason code is textual, is so you can specify, in the language that a computer will understand, exactly what you want it to do. The same as when you're writing a project document that you really want a business to get right, the specification for it is in incredibly dry language (not normally spoken), and absolutely full of technical jargon to do with the subject matter at hand. That's precisely so you remove all ambiguity (or as much as you're capable of anyway).
Any task in life you want to complete well, you need to understand deeply, and in detail. If you're not willing to dive in, and expect things to be very simple, so you can just sit down and do it anytime, tabula rasa, then you'll eternally be stuck at a very amateur level.
That may be all you need, in which case, fine.. Go for it.
But the real code is there for the same reason as formal methods are still used in design (there's no ambiguity).
Creationism In Texas Public Schools
There's a historical analogy to all this going on: Until the rennaissance, the middle east was vastly more advanced than the West (it had medicine, mathematics and so on that just weren't known in the west until scholars studied there). Arabic was the language of trade, commerce and learning during the centuries of its pre-eminence as a cultural and scholarly center.
People would come from all areas of the 'civilised world' (this didn't really include Europe at this point, apart from maybe Italy) to study.
The problems arose with the ascendancy of a faction (Asharite) which was distinctly anti-rationalist. It gained increasing popularity over the Mutazilite faction (which had led the Islamic world to scientific ascendancy over centuries, epousing the Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato, and following in those traditions).
As the power of the Asharites grew, scientific advancement in the middle east stagnated, and eventually it became a crime to copy philosophical texts, as they were an abhorrence in the eyes of God. These sins would eventually be punishable by executions, and the candle of scientific advancement was effectively snuffed out.
Compare this to today. From England grew a large empire (comparable effectively with the Islamic Caliphate) crossing many countries, and being quite the center of learning. People came from all over to study in England. This Empire has been largely disbanded, but the strings of learning have still carried on beyond it.
Over the last hundred years or so, the power and center of effective empire has shifted to America as the rationalist factions invested in learning, keeping church and state separate (as the founders would probably have been painfully aware of the problems of allowing them to merge), and ensuring minds could be kept open, and difficult questions asked.
However, there's now a growing push towards anti-rationalism. It hides itself within the main power structure, and has permeated the political strata to a huge extent (I believe the parts of the national pledge that mention god were only included in the 50s or 60s, never having been present before then), and seems to be getting ever more powerful. Parts of the population (and I've met them on travels) consider it taboo to "Trust science" as it's all God's Will. Exactly analogous to the Asharite faction of a thousand years ago.
We know what happens if that faction gains ascendancy. Scientific tradition fails, as being an intellectual makes you a threat to the religious theocrats, and they're very good at getting rid of threats, and making it 'acceptable', even desirable that these people are removed.
Arabic ceased to be the language of trade and learning once the Asharites gained ascendancy and the Islamic world was in their grip. They were overtaken by the West, which had learned from their teaching earlier, and took on the torch passed to them by the Greeks even earlier.
Nowadays, China is investing massively in education, and particularly science; their technological base has caught up with the Western World at a furious pace. This, quite possibly, is a saving grace; it means that there are definitely alternatives to keep learning alive, just in case the anti-rationalists that are gaining traction in America manage to topple it from within. It would likely mean that the language of trade and learning becomes Chinese, but hey, the world can survive that quite easily.
I guess we see if history does indeed repeat itself, or whether humanity, as a species, has got any brighter since the last time this rise and fall happened.
Justine Sacco, Internet Justice, and the Dangers of a Righteous Mob
Well, the most blatant occurrence of racism I've come across in recent years was in a council meeting in Bristol, UK... An Asian councillor was told in open session that she was "a coconut" (meaning brown on the outside, but white on the inside). This was applied in a very derogatory context. This was said on the record by another councillor.. You'd think they'd be reprimanded at the very least but no.. Entirely swept under the carpet, until the recipient of the slur called for an investigation into why a blatantly show of racism wasn't handled.
When questioned in the investigation why the offending councillor had made a racist comment on the record, she replied "I can't be racist, because I'm black.".
This does kind of point out what gets many people riled up; if you have a non-white skin, then it's strongly implied by many that the only part of racism they play a part in is as a victim, never as an attacker. This is blatantly untrue; whatever colour of skin you have, you're human, and that carries (in most, if not all cases), a bias towards the similar that's been wired into us over thousands (if not millions) of years. We're growing up as a species and overcoming that now, but it's entirely pointless to believe racism isn't universal. It is.
The point of all this though us that the original tweet was plain stupid (the implication that she couldn't get AIDS in Africa because she was white). Factually wrong, which makes her look stupid, and I. Pretty poor taste. The kind of thing that you can look at and say "you tit". Then you get in with life, and deal with real issues.
However, this mob frenzy every time there's even a whiff of the word "racism" or similar is what the author of the article is calling out as being thuggish and oppressive, and distinctly worrying.
There is no "right to be a bit of a dick", and when we are (face it, everyone is a dick sometimes; you, me, and everyone we know). Mostly, it's a momentary lapse in judgement, or an overreaction when we're emotionally slightly compromised..
However, it takes a monumentally idiotic, callous and narrow minded person to bay for blood and hound them out of a job, threaten them, harrass them and so on; all responses which seem "politically acceptable" these days.
That tacit acceptance of gross overreaction is just plain scary. It's the same conditioned reflex you see in religious zealots calling holy war because someone dared draw a picture of their prophet, or take the name of their deity in vain, or believe that science is wrong because it says something different to their couple of thousand year old holy writings.
This kind of behaviour is way beyond being a bit of a dick, and puts you squarely in the "scary wack job" category. The one that people get nervous around when they pick up the cutlery.
It's not about "defending racism" or such, it's about admitting we all have a lot of growing up to do.. Especially collectively as a species.
A Review of the "Mental Illness" Definition Might Prevent Crime
Do note that the stress here that the GP was focussing on was the repeat offenders, who had known mental issues and "excuses" were made to try and ameliorate the sentence as they had "diminished responsibility" in form or another, as if that suddenly made it alright.
Clue; it doesn't make it alright.
It used to be (in the bad old days) that if you were said to be guilty (on easily trumped or minor charges), you were in a whole world of serious pain, and your survival could be uncertain.
These days, people readily leap to make excuses for the behaviour, and the rights of the offenders are treated as sacrosanct (despite the fact that the offenders will readily trample someone else's rights if and when it suits them without any thought at all), and they're treated with kid gloves.
When a psychological problem is identified as the root cause, why not protect society, and give someone room to recover from trauma in a safe, supportive environment until they're ready.. And come down hard on those that are just nasty scrotes by choice?
Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records
Depression _is_ an emotional problem.
Stop Listening and Start Watching If You Want To Understand User Needs
When your bad user UI gets in the way of effective clinical care, you'll soon kinda realise that your customers are the ones who pay the bills.
If you get to streamline (correctly and safely) the job of the clinicians, you save hospitals money, and save lives both at the same time.
The patient is the client of the clinicians, not you. Your job is to enhance the clinicians' effectiveness, helping save lives that would otherwise be lost.
Stop Listening and Start Watching If You Want To Understand User Needs
Then a really useful way of doing this would be to set a default of the last height, and ask the user on entry (on a clinically agreed, configurable in database, timespan if they are sure they'd like to continue entry without re-taking height as it may be clinically useful) as a simple 'OK or Add Entry' dialog box.
Bingo, you've found a way to enhance the clinical operation of the app. Or think of something better than my purely off the top of my head idea.
What Employee Lock-In Means At Facebook
No idea how you managed to get a -1 for that.. It's the reason I didn't move to the US long ago (the balance between the worker and employer is screwed, and it's only become worse as time has progressed).. It does seem as though some corporates really are trying to set up an environment that is very close to indentured servitude. Natural citizens still have legal privileges that trump the desires of the corporates for cheap labour, so they want to import.
That, really, is a crappy way to do business. It'll work in a short term, but ends up as a race to the bottom, and probable collapse far earlier than necessary (wasting a lot of long term productivity and profit).
China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'
You've not been there, have you?
China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'
You mean, like Japan did, then completely rolled all over US industry once it had the production base?
Gene Variant Can Cause Nattering Nabobs of Negativity
A realist will examine it properly, and notice that there's a small gap (and thus take that, as it's more efficient). If the gap isn't there, they'll look for a way round..
In your analogy, the people who are the "positive" adjusted ones will quite possibly spend the time until they starve to death or die of thirst looking for that small gap "that must be there, just near here", while the realist acknowledges that there's something insurmountable, so routes round it.
US Forces Undertake Two African Raids, Capture Embassy Bombing Figure
Winning would be getting in, achieving the objective and getting out without making an international incident out of it, or giving the opponent a chance to stir things up and look strong (they didn't capture a leader, just a soldier who was glad to die for the cause, and will now be in 'heaven' with his fourty virgins, or whatever is promised).. The eyes of the world suddenly look America's way (hot on the heels of the international disbelief that the USA can be held to ransom internally by a hard line faction within its own government, almost shutting it down totally). The US is currently looking VERY incompetent on the international stage. This is bad for diplomacy, and the negotiating stance (and possible alliances).
The losses for the US in this are actually pretty staggering if you take into account that their "successful" mission cost the country far more than they could ever hope to gain (a pyhrric victory), and the "failed" mission just makes them seem inept and ineffective.. The world's most highly funded military pushed back by a few guys who are portrayed almost as frothing at the mouth backwards sheep-herders with cheap guns and no real military knowledge and funding that doesn't amount to a drop in the ocean compared to what's been spent on gearing up the US squad.
It's pretty damning really.
And no, I don't hold the military guys in lesser regard because of this.. I put it squarely in the hands of the politicians who thought it would be a good idea. You know, the same kind of people who are currently so patriotic about their country, they're willing to see if crash and burn because they're not getting their own way.
Maybe that's not the real truth, but that's pretty much the international perceived view.. And that's not something any country wants..
U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed
Interesting.. You mention that SWAT raids increase, and more people incarcerated tallies up with fewer gun crimes being committed.
That seems to imply that if you lock up (or shoot in a SWAT raid) the group that are prone to committing gun crime, they don't get to commit it. So the system seems to work as intended; the law abiding non-psychotic population are protected.
What's your beef with that?
U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed
Payroll, cleaners, administrative staff that send letters, most of the techies that keep things running, internal post, park wardens, public garbage colleciton.. You know, everything that isn't directly front line on keeping the basic lights on (but just don't ask for anything because there isn't the resource).
Abandoned UK National Health Service IT System Has Cost $16bn... So Far
No, they had lots of people that said the system was unusable.. There were priorities of error, and a priority 1 was a showstopper.
The places that consistently tested showed that the system for the first several years (already way past expected implementation date) for the Care Records part was seriously broken, and not fit for live use (bear in mind, this system isn't just supposed to be able to hold your office files, and it's fine if it's down for half an hour now and then, and perhaps lose a few things along the way with only a grumble; it holds your medical records.. The things that make the difference between life and death in some cases).
With things not working out on either side (again, for the Care Records parts; some parts, like PACS [Picture Archival and Communication System;the digitisation of your X-Rays instead of using film] work fine and are in almost universal use now, vastly changing the nature of care in the NHS.
The big problems with it were:
A) Tony Blair not having a clue what was wanted, but saying it should be done in a year.
B) Setting a guy in charge of it that failed his computing degree.. One Richard Granger. It was pretty much his ideas that doomed the Care Records part of it, and allowed out a spec that was more a back of a cigarette packet sketch than a real spec.
C) Failing to have a real spec. Now the companies all bid for a very nebulous thing that said "You give us a lovely system that does what we want, and we'll give you billions.". Of course, they produced what they thought the NHS wanted, but the NHS discovered that it wasn't what they wanted. You know, basic Spec documentation you cover on computing. Which Granger failed.
D) There was also fault with the companies who leaped at the cash without a real spec.. They should have known that the contract was WAY too wooly and actually tied it down to real deliverables.
At renegotiation time, some of the vendors (like Fujitsu) worked out the cost of really doing what the NHS asked for (which was all the project management of the first round, plus a semi accurate spec). Which was a truly staggering figure. More than the NHS could stomach. The two are still in a legal scrap.
Some vendors still kept the lights on in the data centres, and hosted what was there, but those installations are likely going to have to move out of those data centres by about 2015, as they're too expensive to maintain for the few installs.. And none of the vendors want to renew the system contract.
So, the price tag covers all the allocation (it was scaled to host EVERY NHS hospital in the UK, which is most of them), training, consultancy, migration of data (a high precision activity that needs zero data loss on a vast amount of very complex information, coming out of a vast quantity of different databases, and being shoehorned into one uniform schema. Doing this while still providing clinical care (you don't get to shut a hospital down for ripping out the heart of its data systems and replacing them with a new; it's all done while still treating patients and making sure nothing gets mis-recorded).. Training of a huge number of clinical staff (doctors, nurses, and anyone else who needs to use the system inside the NHS), the feeds.. Interfaces between that system and the various disparate ones that it needs to communicate with inside a hospital..
When you look at it, it's a breathtaking proposal, just nobody on high seemed to recognise that, and expected fast results because they said so and waved a fat wallet around. Unsurprisingly it went awry. The current UK government looked at the figures, the legal position and the chances of getting it sorted from a more businesslike side, and canned the bits that wouldn't work (the care records area).
As for the data protection side, that was one of the most heavily guarded I've seen anywhere.. It was pretty robust. The few 'leaks' that happened (people looking at records they shouldn't) were spotted by access audit, and people lost the jobs.. That simple, that strict.
Student Arrested For Using Phone App To 'Shoot' Classmates
Actual phychological and physical harm (bullying) is ok.. But god forbid you make a drawing of a video to sate your frustrations (or map a photo onto a game avatar, you know, like we used to put pictures on a dartboard).. That's illegal, terroristy and you need to be locked up for that!
Step 1) Someone is found to be bullying, punish them.
Step 2) See a lot of this kind of behaviour vanish.
Microsoft Drops Price on Nokia's 41-Megapixel Phone
When you have no presence in a market, and most of your customers are about to enter an upgrade cycle to "your new product", sure, the growth rate is high. There again, iOS and Android have a huge market, close to saturated, yet still growing.
This is akin to saying "my herb garden expanding at a faster rate than a continent filled with forest".