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New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

readin Re:Confused. (208 comments)

Isn't this the same crowd that says there ARE no differences between boys and girls and therefore girls should be in represented equally in STEM careers?

Yet the way they intended to remedy the imbalance is to create curriculum specifically for girls, who are no different than boys.

The last fifty years or so of social history appears to have passed you by.

Yes, having failed to correct left-handness in many people but succeeding in correcting black women's hair so that it can be straight we decided about 50 years ago to take on the task of correcting women so that they have the same professional and sexual goals as men. We've made a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go. A lot of women may complain and object, but we know what's best for them so we'll make those decisions for them.

4 days ago
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New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

readin Re:Confused. (208 comments)

The question of equality is where they are asserting men and women can perform the same. Until evidence exists to the contrary, we have to assume this is true.

Why do we have to assume one way or the other? Why not just admit we don't know and let people do what they want instead of trying to push them to do what we think they should?

If men and women aren't that different but we assume they are, we'll start making rules about what fields women and men should enter.

If men and women are significantly different but we assume they're the same, we'll spend forever trying to correct a problem that doesn't exist and can't be 'corrected' without significant heartache. By assuming men and women are the same we may be taking on a task similar to correcting left-handness. Why not let people be and stop assuming you know what is best for them?

4 days ago
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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

readin Re:As for the people who say "XXX kills more than. (772 comments)

Yet, you have surely seen a lot of insects, leaves or rain drops splashing on the windshield. Now compare that to the fight against terrorism...

Yes I have seen those things because insects blown by the wind, leaves and drops of rain are incapable of being deterred the way a terrorist is.

Perhaps a better analogy regarding insects is a screen window. Why have one? Do you ever see insects flying into a screen? If no insects ever fly into the screen, then how can the screen be keeping the insects out of your house? The answer is deterrence. The insects see the screen in the window so they don't try to fly through the window.

about two weeks ago
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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

readin Re:Oh bullshit on a stick (772 comments)

The people who think we need to empathize with barbarians are often under the following mistaken impressions:
...

2) Westerners are the only people who act; who have agency. All other people do not have their own plans, thoughts and ideals- they merely react to what westerners do. They are automatons we can control through correct choices.

Well said.

about two weeks ago
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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

readin Re:As for the people who say "XXX kills more than. (772 comments)

You know what really pisses me off? That damn windshield that has to be installed on every car. SERIOUSLY?? I have never once been hit in the face with high wind, blown insects or leaves, or even rain while I've been driving. Yet we still have to have those windshields on every single car.

Yes, just like terrorists. You don't like the protections because you don't see any terrorist attacks. But if we removed the protection and it were KNOWN we removed them how many terrorists would jump at the opportunity?

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:Controlling illegal immigration would be easy (398 comments)

So you want everyone to carry around government papers all the time saying who we are and telling everyone about our background for everything we do. Basically we have to let the government approve all our actions.

That's a liberal fantasy I don't want any part of. Secure the border instead.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

Crossed legally then didn't leave when they were supposed to. Sort of like if I went to Canada on vacation then just never left.

That makes them illegal, not undocumented.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

The problem results from a confusion between the words undocumented and illegally. Anyone who enters America is documented as part of the process. We know they're here and we know if they left legally.

However they can be documented but still be here illegally if they stay passed the time their documentation says they have to leave.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

Not to mention, many undocumented folks crossed the border legally.

If they crossed the border legally then they have documentation and are, by definition, not undocumented even if they remain in the country illegally.

The problem of visa-overstayers is a very different one than the problem of illegal border crossings.
With over staysers
* Everyone has been cleared with customs, and whatever background checks we choose to do or do not do. We have a chance to verify they're not bringing drugs or other contraband.
* Most are going to be skilled laborers because it's difficult to get a temporary visa without having money and a good purpose for coming here.
* We don't get the majority from just a few places - we take people on temp visas from all over the world so if they oversay we don't get a permanent minority - people are more likely to assimilate.
* Everyone has documentation so we can find out who they are if they ever get arrested. Just run their fingerprints against the visa-overstayer database. If they don't get arrested then maybe we can just let them be.
* If we find that certain types of visas are more likely to be violated or certain characteristics (nation of citizenship, purpose for coming, etc.) make it more likely someone will overstay, we can cut back on those visas.

In short, with visa over-stayers we have a way to manage the situation. We don't have that with illegal border crossers.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

I have a couple problems with this. First, I'm a softie and don't want to put people who have laid down roots here in that situation. Second, I believe immigration policy should primarily benefit Americans and a policy that forces American children/spouses to either abandon family members or leave is not one that I think is good for Americans. And let's remember that these trespassers have also made American friends outside their family.

Finally, and very importantly, I don't want that kind of police society where people have to show their papers to get anything done. I'm an American citizen and if I want to work I should be allowed to work without having to dig up pieces of paper that let people look up my life's story. Such a paperwork government-approved society is one liberal wet dream I don't want any part of.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

Great Wall isn't relevant. It was a very different situation - different time, different peoples, different purpose, etc..

$22 billion - the Heritage foundation figure the illegal immigrants cost us about $50 each year. After the border is built the maintenance costs will be lower per year than the building cost. Troops will be needed to secure the border so that will add to the cost. However after the first few years that cost will also decrease as it becomes clear that there is no point in trying.
A border sufficiently secure from trespassers will also make drug smuggling very difficult because getting drugs across usually involves getting people across. Some drug smugglers will still get through and many will keep trying given the profits available, but stopping those smugglers will get easier when we can assume anyone crossing illegally is a smuggler rather than a mere trespasser and we can be more aggressive in stopping them.

If pouring money into Mexico would help, I would be all for it. But we've played that game too many times and lost. You give foreign aid to a people struggling with, amoung other things bad government and organized crime, and the money ends up in the hands of the bad government and the organized criminals helping them secure their place as the people ruining the society.
There may be something cultural as well - the only places where foreign aid has brought about long lasting positive effects is in places that were being restored to what they were before - like Germany, Japan, and the Marshall Plan in Europe. It has never lead a society to a place it had never been before. The only times were outsiders have effected positive long-lasting change is when there has been some level of colonization or force, and that is hit-and-miss and generally takes decades or longer even when it works. (Really the only places I know of where such a colonization has worked really well are when America forced Japan to open up (perhaps it wasn't strictly colonization, but it was force)(it worked well in modernizing their society even if it lead to later problems) when the Japanese took over Taiwan.)

One other thing about the cost - again I think culture is important. Mexicans and other South Americans have never established a working stable robust democracy despite nearly 200 years of trying. Frankly I don't want too many people from such a culture coming to America and voting/governing in ways that undermine our system.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin Re:But we have freedom of speech... (398 comments)

We aren't like those other countries where citizens are muzzled. Over here, we have the first amendment. Oh wait...Yes, I am referring to the constitution*.

*Subject to certain prohibitions and restrictions. May not apply in all states and jurisdictions. All terms subject to override by the President if Congress fails to do what he tells them to.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

readin More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

"Much of the reporting is one-sided — and there's a reason for this."

There is more than one reason. The article gives one reason - and this was news to me.

However the other reason is that for some reason the reporting is very biased in favor of open borders. This is a situation where the well-known obvious liberal bias of most reporters fits perfectly with the often alleged corporate bias of the owners of most major media outlets. Diversity meets cheap labor is the perfect storm.

How often do we here about the need for "comprehensive immigration reform"? The very word "reform" shows the bias. And we already did it anyway, we traded amnesty for increased enforcement. The amnesty occurred but we never go the enforcement. Now the very same deal is being offered again? How often do you hear this outside of right-wing radio and (possibly because I don't watch it) Fox News? Yet it is central to why so many people are dead-set against a comprehensive deal. For a deal you need trust and there is no trust. But you don't see that reported in the Washington Post.

Build a border that can be enforced, then we'll talk amnesty (and I'll be in favor of it too). But we can't make a new agreement until good faith is shown through the fulfilling of the terms of the previous agreement. Would you go back and buy another car from a salesman who never delivered the previous one you bought and paid for?

One we have the trust, we can talk about the H1-Bs too.

about two weeks ago
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How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes With Salmon

readin Just like the economy (118 comments)

The natural environment is a survival of the fittest game where most actors look out for their own interests - pretty much like an economy. Is it any surprise that in both cases when we try to perform top-down management we fail due to unintended consequences?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

readin Re:similar situation (720 comments)

My advice is to look at small companies rather than large companies. Large companies are likely to have policies in place and you're not likely to get the CEO's attention for an override.

At a small company they may not have a policy. Or maybe if you impress the guys interviewing you enough they might just bring in the president of the company to see if he'll let them make an exception.

Since you mention that you had just gotten out of the military, you might look around for a program (even at a large company) that helps vets get back into civilian life. I worked on a project at a large company (on a contract with the Army) that was bringing in vets who had been seriously injured. Maybe there's something out there for vets who had emotional issues as result of combat.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

readin Small companies (720 comments)

I suspect (I'm speculating though) that most large companies have policies in place that prevent hiring of people with criminal histories. However small companies and start-ups are often more free to make case-by-case decisions. My one datapoint is having worked for a small company with an excellent programmer with no college degree. When I started at a large well-known company he asked about working there as well. I recommended him to my boss who told me they had a strict rule - you need a college diploma to work there.

So look for firms of less than 200 employees where you have a decent chance of the top guy finding out about you and overriding any policies in place (if there are any).

about two weeks ago
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A Case Against Further Government Spectrum Auctions

readin Re:Read More (66 comments)

They shouldn't be having companies buy it; companies should be leasing it from the government.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

readin Re: There is an open source solution (413 comments)

Thanks

I've wondered how district stability (I assume that's what you mean) might be incorporated into the plan. You wouldn't want it as a factor the first time it is used because you want to get rid of any previous gerrymandering effects. But in follow-up years it would be nice for people not to have the districts (and representatives) changing wildly. I don't have an answer for it though. I think the benefits of ending gerrymandering would make up for the district instability.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

readin Re:There is an open source solution (413 comments)

Why not use something like random.org or another "perfect" random number source? That way, nobody choose the seed.

For the same reason we don't trust electronic ballots - too easy to tamper with the process without having any evidence.

A big round tub of ping pong balls on the other hand - there is no obvious way to rig which ball will be selected and if you did figure something out the evidence would be tangible and much harder to dispose of.

about three weeks ago

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