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Everything posted by skap35

  1. I don't think it's wise to take a stand against liberal professors, especially on an application essay. When I was in college I had my share of liberal professors. As much as I wanted to put them in their place, I kept my mouth shut and told them what they wanted to hear. My goal was to get an A and move on to the next class. You don't need to put yourself in a situation where you get a bad grade because the professor disagrees with you. Or even worse, have your application denied.
  2. I've encountered this problem a few times in my job. My company does billing for hospitals; each one having *very* different ways of doing things. So my job is to adapt our chart validation software for each hospital. The problem is that sometimes the ED department completely forgets to notify IT of the change until a few days before we go live. So they need something that works in two days, but what they end up with is something that could have been designed better if I actually had a reasonable deadline. As long as that feature "works" they don't care if it could have worked better. Then after the change goes into production, I'll think of a better way of doing it. The problem then becomes users resistence to change. Once they know one way of doing it (no matter how bad that is) they don't want to learn a new way (even if it's an improvement). This is another problem I've had in the past. When I first started my job the only GUI's I ever designed were for my own personal use. Once I started designing things other people use, I would get some negative feedback from users. I generally don't have that problem anymore because I know a lot more about what the user is thinking when they use it. So I think programmers can get better at this after dealing with their users for a while. There is another roadblock I've encountered to good interface design. In my case, I'm designing a contract management system for our legal department. They've been hounding us over this for over a year. The problem is that when we ask them what they want, they have no clue. That's somewhat understandable since their job is not interface design or programming. The problem is that the programmer needs at least *some* knowledge of their business processes in order to figure out the best possible way to design the software. What I'm getting at here is that the programmer needs to know something about who will use the software in order to design it in a way that meets their needs. Sometimes the users aren't willing to give you any input and they are the ones that suffer in the end.
  3. There was one case about a Jewish woman. She claimed religious discrimination in the workplace and sued the business she worked for. There was another case this past Christmas where an atheist faculty member of a university (don't remember which one) threatened a discrimination suit because of a Christmas tree they put on display. I don't believe any legal action took place though because the school took it down. I didn't find much when I googled either of those cases though, so maybe I'm be remembering them wrong.
  4. I think you're missing the point on why this is an issue. Yes it is a waste of time, but it's not that Christians are offended by "happy holidays." This actually all started because liberal atheists decided to sue stores because they put "merry christmas" in their windows. And yes, it is malicious in nature. This whole thing really got going just after the 2004 elections. Remember the jesusland map that got released the day after Bush won? How is that not an attack on Christians? The jesusland nonsense and the happy holidays versus merry xmas issue all came from the same group of atheists. Which basically comprises Dems that were upset over the election and decided to throw a hissy fit and start suing stores and local governments because manger scenes somehow offend them. As an atheist myself, these people really irritate me because now I can't make it known what I am without being labeled an idiot or worse.
  5. Thanks for all the advice everyone. Just to follow up here's some pics of my new dog, Webster! He's a border collie/sheltie/german shepherd mix (the brown dog in the pictures).
  6. I've read quite a few alarmist articles, too. I think it's kind of funny actually. Shortly after the new year, information was released that 2005 was the warmest year on record. Within days MSNBC kept running daily stories about how big industry is responsible. The fact is there is no evidence whatsoever that humans are responsible and, in fact, evidence suggests otherwise. Over the years every single claim made has been shot down by real science. Global cooling, the hole in the ozone, etc. Plus there is the fact that major climate changes, even if humans were responsible, would take hundreds of years to feel the effects. As a sidenote, does anyone here listen to Rush? He has an interesting take on the whole environmentalist movement. He basically says that environmentalism is really just a disguised way of attacking Capitalism. This makes sense considering that most environmentalists are Socialists and rabidly anti-Capitalist.
  7. First, you are right that many of the prisoners executed in China probably don't deserve it, since they do execute people for having anti-Communist views. So in this case, it may have been immoral of the government to execute him in the first place. But on the other hand, if I am about to die, I personally wouldn't care who gets the money. I place a higher value on my life than I do on keeping a few thousand dollars out of the hands of the Chinese government.
  8. skap35

    Hackers "good"?

    I took an internet security class a few years ago when I was in college. During the ethics lecure, I noticed that my professor quoted Ayn Rand when he was talking about the importance of privacy in hacking. He was explaining that if a hacker inadvertently comes across someone's personal information, it is immoral of him to actually look at it. Here is the link to his power point presentation: http://www.cs.wright.edu/~pmateti/Privacy/pm000615.ppt
  9. When I read this story the first thing I thought of wasn't altruism, but more of a way to get attention. Young kids tend to like being the center of attention, so I think if they see a way to help the adult, it's more of a way to get their attention and have the adult interact with them.
  10. So are you suggesting that we also cut all ties with every Socialist and Communist government as well? I understand your point, but realistically that would be a horrible move. If there is a benefit for us then there is nothing wrong with it. The alternative, if your thinking on this is applied consistently is to return to being isolationists. Is that what you are saying? This is not a wise approach. Sure we are the most powerful nation on Earth, but that doesn't mean that we should pick fights with everyone all at once. We need to pick our battles.
  11. If you follow the history of this fight, you'll realize that they really are not smart at all. The only thing they are capable of doing is coming up with various catch phrases to describe the same thing: Let's teach Creationism. No. Let's teach Intelligent-Design. No. But teachers have "academic freedom" to do it. No. Let's offer "critical analysis" of evolution. No. Nothing but little catch phrases. As soon as one of them gets shot down, they reword it a little bit and try again. Nothing too smart about that in my opinion.
  12. I agree with what you said about destruction of rationality. But there is a big difference between destroying rationality and temporarily impairing it. Someone who is drunk will regain their ability to think rationally in a few hours. So I would hardly consider drunkeness as complete destruction of your ability to think rationally. I lose respect for people in this state, too. But just because I lost respect for them doesn't mean they did anything immoral. I was actually responding to a comment made by davidmsc. It sounded to me that he was making the claim that any time you intentionally "obliterate your consciousness" it is immoral. I was merely giving an example of a case where everyone would probably agree that it was perfectly moral.
  13. Many things are less moral than that. If I get drunk at a bar, then walk home and go to bed, I've done nothing morally wrong. On the other hand, if I get drunk and start picking fights or go home and beat my wife, then that is immoral. Just the fact that I'm drunk, by itself, is perfectly moral. The only time it can cross the line is if I start to violate the rights of those around me. There are many types of medicine designed not just to "relieve some symptoms" but to completely obliterate your consciousness, as you phrased it. Have you ever been to the emergency room? I was at one time and in the ambulance they pumped me full of morphene. That substance completely obliterated my consciousness far, far more severely than alcohol. And that was exactly the intent of the paramedics who gave it to me. Are you saying now that if I consume a substance with the goal of "obliterating my consciousness" then it is immoral? In my case there was a perfectly moral reason to give it to me, even though my mind was basically gone while I was on it. It was not like NyQuil where you just relieve a few symptoms, it was much stronger than that. Maybe I'm not completely understanding your point, but it sounds to me like you are saying that relieving a headache is ok but if your mind is gone while you are on it then it is immoral. Am I correct?
  14. I have a 40 hr/week job. But I live about 30 seconds from work, so I always come home on my lunch breaks. When I'm not working, I'm usually at home, so the dog would probably just have to go for no more than about 4 hours without being let out. I also run on a treadmill several times a week and was planning to run with the dog in the park instead of the treadmill. So I think the dog would be able to get a good amount of exercise with my current work schedule. Hour long hikes everyday will probably be too much for my schedule, so a dog that requires that much exercise probably won't work for me. But he definitely will not be cooped up for 8+ hours or anything.
  15. My old boss worked for my company as a programmer/manager for several years and he never earned a degree. He started off doing low-level programming for a company that his mom worked at. After that he took a job at my company doing VB.NET and database programming. Not having a degree will certainly make things harder on you. In fact, I think the main reason my old boss was able to break into the industry is because he had a connection at that company. You might try starting off at a computer repair shop while you look for a programming job. At a lot of the smaller shops you can get a bit of web development experience, which could help you gain some credability. And you'll still get some experience in the IT industry, even if it isn't in programming. Another option is to earn an MCP or other certification. It's not very expensive, and since you already have programming experience you might be able to just take the tests without taking any classes.
  16. I just found out that my parents are buying me a dog for my birthday. So I was wondering what kind of dogs other people have. I'm especially interested in a small to medium size dog because my apartment has a 40-50 pound weight limit.
  17. What immoral actions are you talking about? I drink alcohol with friends and don't drive afterwards, I walk home. I drink a few beers while shooting a few games of pool and talking to other people at the bar. What exactly do you find immoral about that? All you've done is take a stance without providing any reasons for this. Why do you think being drunk is immoral? Do you consider alcohol to be immoral or is it ok to drink some alcohol, as long as you don't get drunk?
  18. I've always liked the way vBulletin works, but I haven't ever been exposed to the development side of it...just as an end-user. There are a lot of sites that use it too.
  19. Well that is fine for something where improper safety can be easily detected. But there are certain cases where it isn't quite so simple. I work for the IT department at a medical billing company and we have certain regulations for encryption and taking steps to protect patient's SSN and personal medical history. If we are broadcasting that information in the clear then it is possible that someone is gathering it all up, but there is no way to know. It would be possible to find out if a particular hospital is using encryption before visiting it (and go somewhere else if they are not) but that only works for one step of the billing process. A typical medical record will travel through about four or five entities before it gets paid (hospital->billing company->billing distribution center->insurance company, and sometimes others). Any one of those companies could have a contract with another company that does not use encryption. There is no way for you to find the exact path of companies that your record went through and I doubt any company would be willing to answer your questions about encryption. They don't have to show you their contract and probably won't even if they were using encryption. So how would I, as a patient reasonably find out if there is any step in the process that is sending my information in the clear, like in the Geiger counter example above?
  20. I'm sure that would be lonely. But I just don't see any situation where I would actually want to die like he does. It would be lonely, sure, but does that cause enough emotional pain to want to die? Personally, I would say no, but that's just me...
  21. I liked this movie very much, but there was one thing that bothered me. In the end of the movie, when the old man is telling the woman the whole story, he shows her that Mr. Jinks is still alive (the mouse is 80 years old or something). He also revealed that he was also unnaturally old and said that his long life was his punishment for destroying one of God's miracles. Maybe I'm being too picky but it really irritated me that he would view a really long life as a punishment. It seems like a downer to end the movie with something good being viewed as something bad...Did anyone else notice that?
  22. skap35

    Hip Hop

    I don't care for most rap, although I do like some of it. The reason isn't because I haven't given it a chance, it's because I simply don't find most of it creative. I am a big fan of techno, and one thing I've noticed about "hip-hop" and rap is that a significant amount of it is nothing more than 80's techno songs with rapping added on top of it. Now, adapting an existing song isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not very creative. I enjoy 70's and early 80's techno because it was creative. It went completely against the grain of mainstream music. To me, most rap sounds recycled. There are very few innovative rap artists. In a way, I think hip hop is similar to television: no one is willing to take a risk and try something new and creative. It's always the same basic thing over and over again. That's not to say that there aren't any creative rap artists. I do like Eminem, Slick Rick, Dr. Dre, and a few others, but I would consider them nothing more than rare anomalies in the world of hip hop. When 99% of the new music put out by the recording industry shares the same basic lyrics, there is a problem. Oh, and then there is the fact that half of them don't even write their own lyrics. Have you ever seen Jessica Simpson/Brittney Spears/Christena Agulara off stage before? Do you honestly believe that people like that are able to write songs? Jessica Simpson can barely string a whole sentence together! That being said (sorry for the rant ) when this style first came out in the 80's (?) it was creative. It was completely new and went against the grain of mainstream rock of the time. But since then it has stagnated and very little creativity has come out of it for the last ten years.
  23. Actually I already knew about Objectivism to a certain extent before that. My family exposed me to it from an early age, but as a young kid, I admitedly didn't care about reading philosophy books. It wasn't until college that I read more Rand books. The actual reading assignment was to read Anthem and The Giver. Then write an essay comparing the two and make a case for which one we agree with. For those who are unfamiliar with it, The Giver is about some sort of totalitarian, collectivist utopia where every job is assigned to the citizen based on how they can best serve the community. They even went so far as to mandate drug use to all citizens to control them. If I remember correctly (it was about nine years ago) most people tended to agree with Anthem. But at the freshman high school level we didn't exactly get into any in-depth philosophical discussions. Basically most high school students don't like being told what to do by parents/teachers and they all want to go off on their own. That is basically the story line for Anthem so I think most of the students could relate to it.
  24. I would say the second type is unreachable, but not necessarily the first. Remember that Atlas Shrugged is a somewhat advanced book. I think that some people read the book and see it as just a novel, meant to entertain. The philosophical concepts just go over their head. If you are trying to expose someone to Objectivism like that, then I think Anthem would be a better place to start than Atlas. It's far shorter and easier to read. I actually had Anthem as assigned reading my freshman year of high school and loved it. And I think the book is at about the high school reading level, so that might be a better place for some people to start off.
  25. I love tennis! I used to play in high school and still try to play, but most of my friends don't like it so I'm always looking for new tennis partners.
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