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Advice to a Junior in High School?

P: n/a
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.

I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.

Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?

thank you very much for your help!

--shn
Jul 18 '05 #1
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P: n/a


Howard Nease wrote:
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.


By the time you graduate it will be a different world. There will be a
shortage because everyone is being told the same thing you are. A glut
arose because folks were being told the opposite. These same folks give
up looking for a job in compsci after a month, you'll get a job as a
waiter and look for a year. and you can settle for less because you love
the work. the latter will also make you better at it than money chasers,
and will help you interview better.

btw, i would say this even if you were from a highly-disrespected inner
city public school. :)
--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
http://www.tilton-technology.com/
---------------------------------------------------------------
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from
Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets."
-- Bob Uecker

Jul 18 '05 #2

P: n/a


Howard Nease wrote:
H What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


PS. Common Lisp

--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
http://www.tilton-technology.com/
---------------------------------------------------------------
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from
Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets."
-- Bob Uecker

Jul 18 '05 #3

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"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com...
What should I study in college?
Hi. Are you asking which areas in the field of computer science you should
try to specialize in (take courses in)? Are you asking which comp. sci. (or
non-comp.sci. courses) would be beneficial (for getting work, for rounding
your knowledge, for making you happy, for all of the above and more)?

What you should study in college may well depend on your chosen college's
degree requirements. My university, for instance, requires us to take
atleast 8 classes outside of our discipline (I chose to do a minor in
philosophy, in order to meet that requirement).

It's hard to say what you should study. What are your goals? What would you
like to learn? What would you like to do? Do you want to be a computer
scientist? a programmer? a software engineer? a network administrator? a
security professional? a web-application developer, or something else?
Depending upon what you want to do, what you should learn may differ.

For the time being, you're still in high school, so let's start there. Take
all of the math and science courses you can. Finite (discrete) mathematics,
if it is offered, is particularly useful. If your school offers any kind of
logic course, take that. If you're looking to be in management, business
courses might be useful. Take literature courses (you'll have to write
papers as you move further towards being a computer scientist, best get some
practice writing now). But, most importantly, take what interests you!

In university (or college), you can follow advice similar to that above.
Especially, "take what interests you". Take any required maths, and, if you
like, take any other discrete math courses. As for computer science courses:
You'll likely have a core curriculum to follow for the first 2-3 years, so
you may not have a lot of choice in which courses to take. In 3rd and 4th
year you'll likely get to specialize more. If your school offers a compiler
course, take it. Most of what you learn there is applicable in other
domains. If your school offers an interface design course, take that. If
your school offers software design courses, take those.

Other than this, it's difficult to suggest courses. It depends on your
interests and the courses that are offered. Are you interested in AI,
A-Life, evolutionary computing? Are you interested in cryptography,
security, networking? Are you interested in distributed or parellel
computing? Again, "take what interests you".

What languages do you suggest that I study (I'm already studying Python)?

Learn C (atleast, and maybe C++). Learn an assembly language. Learn Scheme
(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
language). Learn Prolog (or some other logic programming language). Learn
Java. Learn Perl. Learn what interests you.

I hope that was somewhat helpful,
Sean

Jul 18 '05 #4

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On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 22:57:44 GMT, "Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com>
wrote:
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.

I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.

Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I would make sure to consider a field, in a non-computer science, which
allows/requires you to use your interest/skills in computer programming.

I believe I chose the right words, so read them carefully. I don't think
that leaves any questions of me. Your decision should be your decision.

Languages...

Whatever appeals to you, but that probably depends on what you want to do.

Jul 18 '05 #5

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Really hate to say this but....

I agree with another post in that you should look into a real field
where you might be able to use the computer 'hobby' aspects of it in
your field. For instance, be a doctor such as an oconologist,
radiologist, or ear-noste-throat. These are great, high paying
positions that are becoming extremely computer intensive. I look at
it from the standpoint of practicality.... you'll never want for a
job since there has been a demand in most sections of the country for
the last 30+ years, you'll get paid a ridiculous salary, and have a
normal work week of 25 - 50 hours.
Enjoy the Porchse, the yacht, and the time to focus your skills in
programming.
Jul 18 '05 #6

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Afanasiy <ab********@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<hg********************************@4ax.com>. ..
I think you
should do a lot of your own exploring. Consider as much as you can, no
matter what someone online says for or against it.


Hear, hear: this is good advice!

On a more personal note, when I was more or less your age I decided
to do Physics, even if I knew very well that the job situation was a
disaster. Now, it turns out that the situation is still a disaster and I
have just decided to quit the field.
I have found some people telling me that I made the bad choice and that
I should have chosen a more marketable field. I don't think so.
I did what I wanted to do: whereas most of the people do for
all their life a job they dislike, I at least avoided that for
part of my life. I had the opportunity of doing something and I took
it.

If you have the chance of having something you like to do, don't throw
it away to follow the advice of the others. Your life is your responsability.

Michele Simionato, Ph. D.
Mi**************@libero.it
http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~micheles
--- Currently looking for a job ---
Jul 18 '05 #7

P: n/a
In article <hg********************************@4ax.com>,
Afanasiy <ab********@hotmail.com> wrote:
Jul 18 '05 #8

P: n/a
In article <Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com>,
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> writes:

[snip]
Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college?
Well, in addition to what everyone else has said, I would recommend
taking some classes that hone your ability to analyze numerical data.
There ought to be classes from a variety of departments at your college
that can teach you this skill. It's likely *one* of them will catch your
interest. In my experience, that core skill is easily transfered between
fields. Once you learn how to handle the numbers, it doesn't matter if
they are temperature readings or stock prices.

That skill will open a large number of career paths where your CS skills
and interests are respected and used. Many of them pay well, too.

Of course, that doesn't help you in the slightest if you're just not
interested in those fields. Use your college experience to explore (lots
of things really, but let's focus on the career aspects here ;-)). When
you visit colleges, try to ask the older kids if they had the
opportunity to "shop around" and discover what they really wanted to do.
To get you started, I'll tell you right now that Caltech is not such a
place.
Will the market for jobs get better?


Probably. Six years is a *long* time for the computer world.

For that matter, six years is a long time for a person your age, too.
I'm quite sure you will be a very different person when you graduate
from college. Trust me: I'm six years ahead of you. ;-)

And for now, forget us old fogies, go out, and have some fun, goddammit!

--
Robert Kern
ke**@caltech.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter
Jul 18 '05 #9

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"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> writes:
(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
language).


As an added bonus, studying many langugas reduces the chances of you
misclassifying them, as has been done above :-)


Okay. "..., or some other language that supports functional programming
style)" (which would include those mentioned, and many more besides). For
instance,

http://directory.google.com/Top/Comp...nctional/?tc=1
Aleph (1)
BETA (8)
Caml (2)
Clean (6)
Dylan (19) <
Erlang (313)
Haskell (48) <
Leda (5)
Lisp (378) <
Logo (46)
Lua (18)
Mercury (4)
Miranda (10)
ML (35)
Mozart (2)
Objective Caml (5) <
Pliant (16)
POP-11 (6)
REBOL (95)
Scheme (127)
Sisal (12)
Whatever.
Sean

Jul 18 '05 #10

P: n/a
"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> writes:
Okay. "..., or some other language that supports functional programming
style)" (which would include those mentioned, and many more besides). For
instance,

http://directory.google.com/Top/Comp...nctional/?tc=1
Aleph (1)
BETA (8)
Caml (2)
Clean (6)
Dylan (19) <
Erlang (313)
Haskell (48) <
Leda (5)
Lisp (378) <
Logo (46)
Lua (18)
Mercury (4)
Miranda (10)
ML (35)
Mozart (2)
Objective Caml (5) <
Pliant (16)
POP-11 (6)
REBOL (95)
Scheme (127)
Sisal (12)


They seem to have forgotten Python.
Jul 18 '05 #11

P: n/a

"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com...
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a field of study in which I'm not very interested.


The demand for software engineers has fluctuated up and down, in
various industries and regions, for decades. An article in the
current Business 2.0 on the 'coming labor shortage' points out that
you are part of the first generation in America to be numerically
smaller than your parents generation. In ten years, when boomers have
or are retiring, there will probably be a relatively shortage of tech
workers.

TJR
Jul 18 '05 #12

P: n/a
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message news:<Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com>...
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:
.... Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I would say that more important than learning any particular language
is learning the theoretical aspects of the job, including the math.
Languages change, the theory will benefit you all your life.

That said, I agree that you should learn and study a variety of
languages. Each carries with it a particular way of thinking about a
problem, and once you understand that way of thinking you can apply it
elsewhere.

As for a job in CompSci, I'd say if you were in it for a steady job,
doing the same sort of thing for years, getting good pay without too
much work, you're really in the wrong field. Amazingly, a lot of
people working today have that attitude. Many more are trying to
figure out where their jobs went.

You sound like someone with a real love for the field and a desire to
keep learning and improving yourself. If that's the case, you'll do
fine.
Jul 18 '05 #13

P: n/a
Howard Nease <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote:
....
Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I'd suggest C++, because it's complex and hideous, and you'll probably
be dealing with complex hideous things in the software industry--so
it's best to start early.
Jul 18 '05 #14

P: n/a
"Terry Reedy" <tj*****@udel.edu> writes:
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com...
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software

engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go

into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.


The demand for software engineers has fluctuated up and down, in
various industries and regions, for decades. An article in the
current Business 2.0 on the 'coming labor shortage' points out that
you are part of the first generation in America to be numerically
smaller than your parents generation. In ten years, when boomers have
or are retiring, there will probably be a relatively shortage of tech
workers.


Who knows? There are plenty of clever, hard-working people in India
who speak good English. It would be a good thing if more computing
jobs moved there, IMHO, and that certainly seems to be happening to an
extent already.

A lot depends on the location and degree of horror of world events, I
fear. Just to cheer you up ;-/
John
Jul 18 '05 #15

P: n/a
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message news:<Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com>...
I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science.
I suppose we should just chalk that up to the angst of a 17 year old.
There is nothing magical, mystical, or more enlightening about
computer science compared with any other profession, vocation or
avocation. If you really would be "devastated" to not be a computer
scientist, I would recommend some counseling to address your
perceptions of your worth and value as a person.
I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.
I've changed professional aspirations at least a dozen times since I
was 12 years old. I've actually changed professions 6 times since I
was 12 years old.
Does anyone have any advice for me and my future?
Yes. Volunteer in your community, read to children, talk to your
grandparents and find out where you came from, visit art galleries,
learn to cook, be a good listener, support your local animal shelters,
always stop and buy lemonade from kids in the neighborhood, read one
really good book a year - start with Shakespeare or Mark Twain, learn
to dance, attend at least one ballet or symphony a year, take a nap at
least once a month, stretch before exercising, tip generously, travel,
spend less than you earn, and finally - understand that what you do
for a living does not define who you are as a person.
What should I study in
college?
You should learn to think and to learn in college.

Focus on problem decomposition - there are no interesting problems
that can be solved in one bite...everything has to be broken down into
smaller pieces.

Study literature - I have yet to see a single computer scientist who
can manipulate symbols as well as Shakespeare.

Take a music appreciation class. The development of musical theory
and composition provides a good parallel for the understanding of
complex systems interactions. I have yet to meet a single computer
scientist who can manage complex systems architecture as well as
Beethoven.
Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci?
The market is going to be different than it is today. Better is a
judgment that I do not care to make. The advice I received was to get
a good education and increase your odds of remaining gainfully
employed. It was, and still is, good advice.
What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I'd suggest English. The ability to communicate effectively is
probably more important than any technical skill.

If you get tired of studying English, then you might try German. I
love the structure of the Germanic languages. If you live in the
southwest, perhaps Spanish would be a good language to study.

If you still insist that specific topics in computer science have any
more value than something else, I'd recommend the following:

- Pick a text editor. Learn it inside and out. Use it for
everything.
- Pick a unix shell. Learn it inside and out. Use it for everything.
- Use a source code control system for everything - no matter how
large or small the project.
- Use make for every project, no matter how small.
- Favor "standards" over proprietary tools.
- Learn to write web pages...using the standards!
- Learn C.
- Learn C++. Learn it both as an OO language, and as a proceedural
language.
- Learn one new language a year.
--Stan Graves
Jul 18 '05 #16

P: n/a
On Monday 25 August 2003 05:57 pm, Howard Nease wrote:
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me
on my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in
technology, more specifically the field of Computer Science and software
engineering. I have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for
software engineers nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major
or perhaps go into a field of study in which I'm not very interested.

I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.

Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that
I study (I'm already studying Python)?

thank you very much for your help!

--shn


As a junior in high school, rather than worrying so much about *what* to study
in college, I'd suggest carefully looking at *where* to study. A Bachelor of
Science in Computer Science from one school won't be the same as another --
try to think of what topics you're most interested in and find schools that
have professors who specialize in those fields. They'll end up helping you
decide what to study as you go, because they'll be able to see what your
interests (and talents) are. (Something that your words on a mailing-list
don't identify all that well!)

For now, keep all your grades up and start visiting colleges. Don't sweat the
other stuff just yet...the school you choose will have a program laid out,
and you'll choose electives within it, but it'll be pretty straightforward
and will give you an opportunity to explore and figure out if/what you want
to study in grad school.

Don't forget to enjoy the stuff you're learning, and don't sweat the job
market thing. If you have the ability and the love of CS, supporting yourself
will come along in ways you can never plan for. Just do what you love, and
you'll be amazed at what happens.

dave

--
d.w. harks <da**@psys.org> http://dwblog.psys.org
Jul 18 '05 #17

P: n/a

"John J. Lee" <jj*@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:87************@pobox.com...
"Terry Reedy" <tj*****@udel.edu> writes:
The demand for software engineers has fluctuated up and down, in
various industries and regions, for decades. An article in the
current Business 2.0 on the 'coming labor shortage' points out that you are part of the first generation in America to be numerically
smaller than your parents generation. In ten years, when boomers have or are retiring, there will probably be a relatively shortage of tech workers.
Who knows? There are plenty of clever, hard-working people in India
who speak good English. It would be a good thing if more computing
jobs moved there, IMHO, and that certainly seems to be happening to

an extent already.


The same article pointed out that 1) much of the outsourcing is lower
level call-center jobs; 2) programmer salaries are already rising in
India because most of the good talent is already employed; 3) the
shortage anticipated is greater that the anticipated extra supply in
India, China, etc. Who know...

TJR
Jul 18 '05 #18

P: n/a
Stan Graves wrote:
[Lots of good advice snipped]


Wow, this is really good advice on becoming a decent human being! I
could not have put it as well or succinctly. This is much better advice
for someone finishing high school soon than on any specific technical
direction. It reminds me a bit of Robert Heinlein's quotation: "A human
being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a
hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts,
build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders,
cooperate, act alone, solve an equation, analyze a new problem, pitch
manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die
gallantly. Specialization is for insects".
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?...0for%20insects

We live in a beautiful and mysterious world -- seemingly infinite in
time and space and meaning, perhaps with multiple nested levels beyond
our current understanding (individual or collective). Stan's advice
touches on how to come to grips with these deeper issues indirectly by
engaging deeply in the human experience through the ways he outlines
(volunteering, compassion, art, dance, music, frugality, etc.) to grow
some deep roots to rely on when branching out into a specialization like
computer science or Python internals.

One good resource in the area towards career understanding is Richard
Bolles "What Color is Your Parachute".
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...46217?v=glance
and his related books on Life/Work planning.

Still, I might add, from a technical side, become aware of Moore's Law
if you want to try to predict where the computer field is going to go
over the course of your career. Computers have increased in computing
capacity for a constant cost on the order of close to one million times
over the last thirty or so years. In the next twenty years or so they
will probably again increase by a factor of about another million from
where they are now.
http://www.transhumanist.com/volume1/moravec.htm
Ever more sophisticated virtual reality simulations and robotics (e.g.
cars that drive themselves just for one application) will be just a few
of the sorts of possibilities this kind of computing power will enable,
as well as all sorts of things we can barely imagine now. Cars can even
drive themselves now using laptops, but they will be presumably even
safer and more capable then...
http://www.ri.cmu.edu/labs/lab_28.html
On Moore's Law and exponential growth see for example:
http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/a...ml?printable=1
Moore's Law type growth is one reason sophisticated languages like
Python are now succesful (over using all C/C++ all the time) and may be
ever more succesful as time goes by. As a corollary, today's level of
desktop computing may well cost one-millionth of what it does in twenty
years, and so may be effectively free (well, a penny) and so may be
embedded everywhere (so studying embedded sytems might be useful, and
for example, learning the computer language Forth might be relevant).

Also, to elaborate on Stan's suggestion to study literature, read lots
of things (including, but not limited to, science fiction). For one
optimistic view of the future, see James P. Hogan's writings, especially
"Voyage from Yesteryear".
http://www.jamesphogan.com/books/voy...itlepage.shtml
I always return to that novel and his other writings as a way to regain
some hope for the future. And for a cyberpunkish vision, try "The
Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...03318?v=glance
But don't skimp on other classics, from "The Machine Stops" to "The
Skills of Xanadu".

It's quite possible in twenty years that much of your work in computing
may be almost inseperable from nanotechnology matter replicator
programming (i.e. your programs might compile to the hardware).
Self-replicating space habitats made easy by related technological
advances in computing and materials fabrication may then well produce
trillions of Earth's worths of living space around our solar system.
http://www.luf.org/
Those sort of possibilities realizeable through dedication and
commitment of young people like yourself (as well as oldsters :-) make
all this current fighting over oil and water and land and weapons all
seem so childish and outmoded as a civilization... Hogan's vision of a
universe of plenty if we can just cooperate and show compassion and try
to avoid living in fear is a good one to embrace. Choices by millions of
people such as yourself will shape whether and how much and for whom the
future heads in this direction.

On the science front, read anything by Freeman Dyson (like "Disturbing
the Universe") because he is a very decent human being as well as
citizen-scientist. And of course, read more broadly than that --
biographies, "Harry Potter", history, and so on. Two useful historians
to read include:
"A People's History of the United States"
http://www.howardzinn.org/
and "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook
Got Wrong"
http://www.uvm.edu/~jloewen/
The concepts in these books may well shape the US political spectrum in
the next couple of decades, and our technosphere may well then be
reconstructed to reflect these changing social values. See also,
"Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political
Thought" as it grapples directly with this issue of technological
development reflecting social values (it's kind of dry, but some of his
other writings may be more accessible).
http://www.rpi.edu/~winner/
A computer language like Python (as opposed to C++) in a way reflects a
different mindset about accessability and changeability (see Guido's
"Computer Programming for Everybody")
http://www.python.org/doc/essays/ppt/acm-cp4e/
in the same way that local solar panels or home biomass fuel cells or
better home insulation alter the political power landscape as opposed to
large centralized nuclear or coal power plants or oil tankers. Always be
aware that the technological systems you build reflect your values. It's
kind of not a surprise to me that Python came from the Netherlands
(progressive social system) or Smalltalk from sort-of-hippies in
California :-) or GNU/Linux from Finland (well, OK, and RMS/GNU in
Boston post-MIT, which sort of wrecks that analogy :-).

And beware the PhD pyramid scheme. See a comment by the Vice Provost of
Caltech on the state of science jobs today as testimony to Congress:
http://www.house.gov/science/goodstein_04-01.htm
In short, Prof. Goodstein says because of this focus on the PhD in US
science, much US education and educators down to the high school level
are somewhat inadequate to the task of imparting useful skills for other
than those heading to do the most elite abstract research, unlike say
the technical education available in some of Europe.

An excerpt from that page: "The problem, to reiterate, is that science
education in America is designed to select a small group of elite
scientists. An unintended but inevitable side effect is that everyone
else is left out. As a consequence of that, 20,000 American high schools
lack a single qualified physics teacher, half the math classes in
American schools are taught by people who lack the qualifications to
teach them, and companies will increasingly find themselves without the
technical competence they need at all levels from the shop floor to the
executive suite. To solve this problem will take nothing less than a
reform of both education and society. We must have as our goal a nation
in which solid scientific education will form the basis of realistic
career opportunities at all levels, in industry, government and in
education itself, from kindergarten to graduate school. As long as we
train a tiny scientific elite that cares not at all about anyone else,
and everyone else wears ignorance of science and mathematics as a badge
of honor, we are putting our future as a nation and as a culture in deep
peril."

I'm not saying don't get a CS PhD someday down the road to realize a
dream of becoming a computer scientist if that is what you want
(although please understand the difference between a software developer
and a mathematician who studies algorithms and how that relates to the
courses you take and universities you choose to attend) -- just
understand what you are getting yourself into and how that PhD system
has distorted science and technical education in the US at present (and
that link above explains why in some detail).

Also, on the issue of volunteerism Stan raise, contributing early and
often to various open source / free software projects that are of
interest to you (such as contributing to Python) is a way to both gain
visibility in the computer world as well as to leave a meaningful legacy
behind no matter where your career and life takes you. Obviously, get
your parent(s)'s or guardian's permission first if legally or morally
needed.

All the best.

--Paul Fernhout
http://www.pointrel.org


-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
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Jul 18 '05 #19

P: n/a
Howard Nease wrote:
I have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for
software engineers nowadays is *HORRIBLE*...
You could go to work in the video game industry. Like most
entertainment industries it fares pretty well especially when
there's a downturn in society.

I've been a video game programmer for seven years. It's a lot of
work and not a lot of money, but it feels cool to me to work on
the programs that people use *after* work. ;) We make the
software that people choose to use individually.
I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer
science.


There will always be a call for programmers. The key to securing
yourself in whatever position you want to be in is simply to be
better than everyone else around you at that role. Study hard,
go after internships while in college (or even before, I recently
had a 16-year old intern in programming who was hot-shit), and
absorb everything you can.

Learn Python, learn C++, learn Lisp. Understand what you like
and don't like about each of these languages.

Good luck,
-tom!

--
There's really no reason to send a copy of your
followup to my email address, so please don't.
Jul 18 '05 #20

P: n/a
Tim Churches wrote:
Except when it comes to guns - despite all the evidence that
the ready availability of firearms to the general population
Results in huge numbers of avoidable homicides, suicides, injuries,
incarceration and general mayhem...


Ironically the states with the loosest gun laws also have the
least crime.

Remember that automobiles kill something like 100x the number of
people in the US every year over guns.

-tom!

--
There's really no reason to send a copy of your
followup to my email address, so please don't.
Jul 18 '05 #21

P: n/a
Tom Plunket <to***@fancy.org> wrote previously:
|Ironically the states with the loosest gun laws also have the
|least crime.

Almost exactly opposite to the truth. Check the FBI uniform crime
statistics. Although the pattern is not 100% reliable, there is a
strong correlation between lax gun laws and gun-related deaths.

|Remember that automobiles kill something like 100x the number of
|people in the US every year over guns.

USA automobile deaths are ^43k/year
USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year

The first number is bigger, yes.... but nothing at all like 100x as
large.

Pulling facts out of thin air (or equivalently, our of NRA leaflets or
ESR's writing) is unpersuasive.

Yours, Lulu...

--
mertz@ _/_/_/_/_/_/_/ THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:_/_/_/_/ v i
gnosis _/_/ Postmodern Enterprises _/_/ s r
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Jul 18 '05 #22

P: n/a
Tom Plunket <to***@fancy.org> wrote:
Learn Python, learn C++, learn Lisp. Understand what you like
and don't like about each of these languages.


The most imporant thing you can learn in school is how to learn.
Especially in a fast-moving technology field, most of the cutting-edge
stuff you learn in school is going to be routine in 5 years and obsolete
in 10.

Languages come and go. Operating systems come and go. Programming
methodologies come and go (flowcharts and coding grids were the range
when I got into programming). The constant is knowing how to think and
how to learn. In school, people decide what you need to know and
spoon-feed it to you. In the real world, you'll need to be able to look
around, figure out for yourself what's important, and teach it to
yourself.
Jul 18 '05 #23

P: n/a
Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx> wrote:
LotLE>
LotLE> USA automobile deaths are ^43k/year
LotLE> USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year

Where did you get your number? 29k a year??? Don't believe it. I
would guess the number to be somewhere in the 1000 to 2000 range.
Unless you are including people killed by police in your figure?
And suicides?

LotLE>
LotLE> The first number is bigger, yes.... but nothing at all like 100x as
LotLE> large.
LotLE>
LotLE> Pulling facts out of thin air (or equivalently, our of NRA leaflets
LotLE> or ESR's writing) is unpersuasive.

Absolutely agree with this. Also add, pulling facts out of
Handgun Control leaflets is equally unpersuasive. We should probably
agree that this is an emotional issue, and leave it at that. Or as Mark
Twain put it, 'There are lies, damn lies, and statistics'.

However, when the little gangbangers in the neighborhood start
popping off, it is far more comforting to know that if they pop at me, I
can pop back, than it is to know that I can call the police. And when
the home invasion stories run in the newspaper, I don't worry as much as
if I had to depend only on calling the police.

The statistic the other poster mentioned about more guns lowering
crime: In states with concealed carry laws, *crime* is lower. Your
statistic about gun _deaths_ being higher in states with relaxed gun laws
is a canard. That is correlating gun deaths with overall crime. There
are issues of population as well. Again, we are talking statistics, and
there can be no agreement as there are so many correlated factors.

Once, I too was of faulty mind like you, fearful of my own shadow, thinking
that guns were the root of all evil, that they prowled the night and the
day, waiting to leap out and harm me. Then I saw the light. :-)

Just shows to go you the effectiveness of propaganda. However you want
to take that. :-)
LotLE>
LotLE> Yours, Lulu...
LotLE>
Jul 18 '05 #24

P: n/a
In article <Qlo3b.7388$n94.4843@fed1read04>,
mi******@warm-summer-night.net (falling star) wrote:
Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx> wrote:
LotLE>
LotLE> USA automobile deaths are ^43k/year
LotLE> USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year

Where did you get your number? 29k a year??? Don't believe it. I
would guess the number to be somewhere in the 1000 to 2000 range.
US murders with firearms were 8,259 in 1999, ranked #4 in the world.
Source: <http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph-T/cri_mur_wit_fir&int=15>
The US is a bit better per capita firearms murders at #6
<http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph-T/cri_mur_wit_fir_cap&int=300>.
So while "falling star" appears to be swallowing some well cooked data,
the raw data is still pretty bad. Being in the company of South Africa,
Columbia, Zimbabwe and Mexico is not something that a progressive nation
should be proud of.
Unless you are including people killed by police in your figure?
They don't have the data for this, but estimating from where I live
(Seattle, population 5e5, ~2/year) gives ~1000/year. I don't believe
from looking at the data that this would affect the US ranking
significantly. The US is in a big clump at the top of the rankings in
both total and per capita measurements.
Or as Mark Twain put it, 'There are lies, damn lies, and statistics'.
He actually attributed this quote to Benjamin Disrali. Since neither of
them had any mathematical background (indeed they were both famous
rhetoricicians), I'm not sure they are qualified to comment on
statistics...
The statistic the other poster mentioned about more guns lowering
crime: In states with concealed carry laws, *crime* is lower. Your
statistic about gun _deaths_ being higher in states with relaxed gun laws
is a canard. That is correlating gun deaths with overall crime. There
are issues of population as well. Again, we are talking statistics, and
there can be no agreement as there are so many correlated factors.


Speaking of canards, the whole state law comparison arguments used by
both sides in this are pretty sketchy (partly for the reasons you
present). There are much larger data sets available from other
countries and they pretty clearly show that the US is anomalous. What
to do about it may be somewhat debatable, but when you have similar
firearms murder rates to countries that have de facto civil wars, it is
prudent to ask what you have in common with those areas might lead to
similar results.

One can argue that there is no comparison, but the data is so striking
that I believe the burden of proof is on those who make that argument.
For the affirmative, we observe that a heavily armed populace is one
common factor, as is lack of a common culture or social identity
(generally caused by tribal or economic differences). Personally I
think it is both: The US populace has very little in common outside of
its political institutions and it is heavily armed. This is
historically a bad combination, for if you are used to demonizing others
and you can kill them, you probably will.

Which brings us back to this Handgun Control/NRA meme war. The fact
that US politics is havily polarized is partly due to this lack of
social cohesion and partly due to there being so much at stake in
controlling the largest economy in the world. Once the debate becomes a
shouting match and a battle of egos, social cohesion drops even further
and you have a positive feedback loop. So in a small way, the argument
that you two are having is actually contributing to the problem under
discussion.

Please note that I am /not/ arguing that the gun violence in the US is
being caused by NRA vigilantes hunting down HCI partisans or vice versa.
But I do believe that villification of the "other" in the media by
large, well-funded organizations intent on maintaining and increasing
their own power, leads to feelings of persecution and self-righteousness
in /all/ members of society. In the end, those with poor impulse
control and easy access to deadly weapons vent these emotions with
tragic results. (This includes the police in some cases.)

So I think there are actually two policy needs here: handgun control
and more civil public discourse. I think that both are required, but I
doubt that either will happen. But to the NRA gun nuts, I say that a
civil society is a far better guarentee of your safety than being well
armed, and to the HCI nuts I say, you are more likely to achieve your
goal through a civil society free of fear, for guns are only a symptom
of the fear, not its root cause.

Anyway, this is waay of topic and I need to get back to work now...

--

- rmgw

http://www.trustedmedianetworks.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Wesley Trusted Media Networks, Inc.

"Grownups have the most uninteresting explanations for things."
- C. S. Lewis, _The Magician's Nephew_
Jul 18 '05 #25

P: n/a
Roy Smith <ro*@panix.com> writes:
Tom Plunket <to***@fancy.org> wrote:
Learn Python, learn C++, learn Lisp. Understand what you like
and don't like about each of these languages.


The most imporant thing you can learn in school is how to learn.
Especially in a fast-moving technology field, most of the cutting-edge
stuff you learn in school is going to be routine in 5 years and obsolete
in 10.


I'm sure there are people who learnt ML during the CS program at
Cambridge more than five years ago...

<fx:runs away :-)>

--
Two things I learned for sure during a particularly intense acid
trip in my own lost youth: (1) everything is a trivial special case
of something else; and, (2) death is a bunch of blue spheres.
-- Tim Peters, 1 May 1998
Jul 18 '05 #26

P: n/a
On Thursday 28 August 2003 10:41 am, Richard Wesley wrote:
In article <Qlo3b.7388$n94.4843@fed1read04>,

mi******@warm-summer-night.net (falling star) wrote:
Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx> wrote:
LotLE>
LotLE> USA automobile deaths are ^43k/year
LotLE> USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year

Where did you get your number? 29k a year??? Don't believe it. I
would guess the number to be somewhere in the 1000 to 2000 range.


US murders with firearms were 8,259 in 1999, ranked #4 in the world.
Source: <http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph-T/cri_mur_wit_fir&int=15>


That's it!?!? Wow... I'm amazed that number is so low! That means that, in the
U.S., you are twice as likely to die from an accident involving drunk drivers
(http://www.madd.org/stats/0,1056,3726,00.html), four times as likely to die
from influenza (http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r030107.htm), and 67
times as likely to die from cancer
(http://www.millennium.com/rd/oncolog...ment/index.asp) than to be
murdered with a firearm. The odds of getting killed that way are roughly the
same as the odds that you'll die from aspirin or similar drugs
(http://www.drugwarfacts.org/causes.htm).
Jul 18 '05 #27

P: n/a
|> LotLE> USA automobile deaths are ^43k/year
|> LotLE> USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year
|>
|> Where did you get your number? 29k a year??? Don't believe it. I
|> would guess the number to be somewhere in the 1000 to 2000 range.

Take a look at the US National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
(part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10.html

I do not seem to be able to create a direct URL, but on the form select
"Firearm" as the "cause or mechanism" of injury. This produces 28,663
deaths for Y2000. Incidentally, you can slice-and-dice the numbers
using this same form.

It is true, of course, that no all those deaths are homicides. Most of
them are suicides, and many are accidents. In other words EXACTLY what
I wrote in my original post. FWIW, gun accidents don't happen to people
without guns (or at least w/o nearby people having them). And suicides
attempted by gun succeed at a much higher rate than those done by other
means (and are much more likely to be attempted in the first place
because of the "convenience").

Yours, Lulu...

--
mertz@ _/_/_/_/_/_/_/ THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:_/_/_/_/ v i
gnosis _/_/ Postmodern Enterprises _/_/ s r
..cx _/_/ MAKERS OF CHAOS.... _/_/ i u
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Jul 18 '05 #28

P: n/a
On Thu, Aug 28, 2003 at 01:38:24PM -0400, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:
[...] And suicides
attempted by gun succeed at a much higher rate than those done by other
means (and are much more likely to be attempted in the first place
because of the "convenience").


What's so bad about that? We already have a few billion too many humans
lying around anyways. Might as well let the volunteers do their thing..

--
m a c k s t a n n mack @ incise.org http://incise.org
Real Users are afraid they'll break the machine -- but they're never
afraid to break your face.

Jul 18 '05 #29

P: n/a
On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 02:12:34 -0400, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx>
wrote:
USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year


And my probability of being one of them is pretty low - because I am usually
armed ;)
Jul 18 '05 #30

P: n/a
On Thursday 28 August 2003 12:40 pm, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:
|The odds of getting killed that way are roughly the same as the odds
|that you'll die from aspirin or similar drugs

No... this one is just way off. According to above URL form:

2000, United States
Adverse effects - Drugs Deaths and Rates per 100,000
All Races, Both Sexes, All Ages
ICD-10 Codes: Y40-Y59,Y88.0

Number of Deaths Population Crude Rate Age-Adjusted Rate**
255 275,264,999 0.09 0.09


Aren't statistics fun? :)

Think about it: even intuitively, 255 is *way* too low for a population of 275
million (that's essentially zero - in a population that size 255 people
probably die in sneezing-releated incidents every year) - I don't think that
statistic represents what you think it represents.

Compare, for example, an article from the Journal of the American Medical
Association:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content...ct/279/15/1200

Even just considering *hospitalized* people, there were 100,000 deaths due to
adverse effects of drugs.
Jul 18 '05 #31

P: n/a
On Thu, 2003-08-28 at 12:46, ma**@easynews.com wrote:
On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 02:12:34 -0400, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx>
wrote:
USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year


And my probability of being one of them is pretty low - because I am usually
armed ;)


I would think being armed increases your chances of engaging in an armed
confrontation. Your position somehow assumes you would win any such
conflict, which, until tested, is an unsupportable position.

I just watched "Bowling for Columbine" last weekend. Interesting watch
if you're interested in the topic.

Regards,

--
Cliff Wells, Software Engineer
Logiplex Corporation (www.logiplex.net)
(503) 978-6726 (800) 735-0555
Jul 18 '05 #32

P: n/a
|>USA gun-related deaths are ~29k/year
|And my probability of being one of them is pretty low - because I am
|usually armed ;)

Obviously, your probability is MUCH, MUCH higher of being one of them,
because you are armed. Most of them are suicides. My chance of being a
gun-inflicted suicide is 0.00%... yours is more (maybe you don't suffer
from depression now, and maybe no temporary personal tragedy has made
you despondent... but if such things do happen [of course, I do not wish
them on you]...)

Moreover, some of the rest are accidents. Again, my odds... well, more
than 0%, since my neighbors could misfire their guns in my direction.
But still much less than yours.

As for homicide, well, you're far more likely to be either a victim or a
killer. If you are armed, it is quite possible that an angry loved one
would have access to that gun.... and no doubt regret shooting you after
his/her anger cooled. And should you be mugged on the street by a
stranger, your chance of walking away dead (rather than just with less
money), are MANY times higher if you pull a gun on your assailant.

Yours, Lulu...

P.S. But wow! Isn't it fun to hear a big bang on the target range :-(.

--
mertz@ _/_/_/_/_/_/_/ THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:_/_/_/_/ v i
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Jul 18 '05 #33

P: n/a
mackstann wrote:

On Thu, Aug 28, 2003 at 01:38:24PM -0400, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:
[...] And suicides
attempted by gun succeed at a much higher rate than those done by other
means (and are much more likely to be attempted in the first place
because of the "convenience").


What's so bad about that? We already have a few billion too many humans
lying around anyways. Might as well let the volunteers do their thing..


This just points to the need for better gun training. The fact that
_any_ of these attempted suicides-by-gun actually fail clearly indicates
there are a lot of gun owners who don't know how to aim properly. ;-)

-Peter
Jul 18 '05 #34

P: n/a
On Thursday 28 August 2003 04:14 pm, Peter Hansen wrote:
Dave Brueck wrote:
On Thursday 28 August 2003 12:40 pm, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:
|The odds of getting killed that way are roughly the same as the odds
|that you'll die from aspirin or similar drugs

No... this one is just way off. According to above URL form:

2000, United States
Adverse effects - Drugs Deaths and Rates per 100,000
All Races, Both Sexes, All Ages
ICD-10 Codes: Y40-Y59,Y88.0

Number of Deaths Population Crude Rate Age-Adjusted Rate**
255 275,264,999 0.09 0.09


Aren't statistics fun? :)

Think about it: even intuitively, 255 is *way* too low for a population
of 275 million (that's essentially zero - in a population that size 255
people probably die in sneezing-releated incidents every year) - I don't
think that statistic represents what you think it represents.


Dave, I think you missed the "rates per 100,000" part, above. That
means roughly 700,000 deaths for the population given, not 255.


That's what I thought too initially, but the actual web page itself suggests
otherwise. OTOH, if it *is* 255 per 100k, then that just makes my previous
comment *more* true, and I don't think Lulu was attempting to do that! ;-)

-Dave

Jul 18 '05 #35

P: n/a
Dave Brueck <da**@pythonapocrypha.com> wrote previously:
|> > Think about it: even intuitively, 255 is *way* too low for a population
|> > of 275 million (that's essentially zero - in a population that size 255
|> > people probably die in sneezing-releated incidents every year)

The page at:

http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10.html

Let's you slice-and-dice injury mortality rates in quite a few ways.
You can check by age, by state, race, sex, and others. You can try
different time periods and normalizations. In a morbid way, it's a
fascinating URL. This doesn't include other causes of mortality like
disease, but some other CDC pages have useful info there.

The number I posted was adverse effects -excluding- medical care--i.e.
accidental over-ingestion of aspirin, which seemed closest to the
category Dave initially suggested.

However, the CDC lists 2804 deaths from adverse effects in medical care,
or about 1 per 100k. However, poisonings are at 20,230 in Y2000, which
is 7.35/100k. I'm not sure how the CDC split out adverse effects from
poisonings (obviously, -no- amount of insecticide is desirable to
digest, but a lot of things have dosage transitions between useful and
dangerous).

Anyway, I find the CDC to be pretty darn definitive in these reports.
Maybe not flawless, but a lot better than particular political advocacy
groups (whether pro- or anti-gun, or MAAD, or environmental [pro- or
con-], etc).

Yours, Lulu...

--
---[ to our friends at TLAs (spread the word) ]--------------------------
Echelon North Korea Nazi cracking spy smuggle Columbia fissionable Stego
White Water strategic Clinton Delta Force militia TEMPEST Libya Mossad
---[ Postmodern Enterprises <me***@gnosis.cx> ]--------------------------
Jul 18 '05 #36

P: n/a
"Cliff Wells" <lo******@qwest.net> wrote in message news:<ma**********************************@python. org>...
I just watched "Bowling for Columbine" last weekend. Interesting watch
if you're interested in the topic.


That was a well made documentary, that did not take the easy route in
blaming guns for murder.

The irony though is that it raised suspicions on the media, but of
course this documentary is really part of the media. It steered the
audience very strongly at times, and I wish he released the unedited
footage of scenes like the surprise interview at the end.
Jul 18 '05 #37

P: n/a
On Thu, 2003-08-28 at 20:05, Tayss wrote:
"Cliff Wells" <lo******@qwest.net> wrote in message news:<ma**********************************@python. org>...
I just watched "Bowling for Columbine" last weekend. Interesting watch
if you're interested in the topic.


That was a well made documentary, that did not take the easy route in
blaming guns for murder.

The irony though is that it raised suspicions on the media, but of
course this documentary is really part of the media. It steered the
audience very strongly at times, and I wish he released the unedited
footage of scenes like the surprise interview at the end.


It was interesting that he didn't really emphasize his own conclusion at
the end. I had the feeling that he didn't really intend to draw a
supportable conclusion, but rather simply point out how silly some
people's theories were and draw a conclusion *different* than what had
come before. Obviously the ultimate goal was to provoke thought on the
subject. His own conclusion, while made clear, can't be taken out of
the greater context of his efforts to show how any conclusion is
misleading at best and outright wrong in most cases.

Regards,
Cliff

Jul 18 '05 #38

P: n/a
On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 19:46:57 GMT, ma**@easynews.com wrote:
And my probability of being one of them is pretty low - because I am usually
armed ;)
Lots of replies. Rather than create a large list of individual responses, I will
summarize in this one post.
I would think being armed increases your chances of engaging in an armed
confrontation.
I have never quite agreed with that concept. Being armed should not make one
"seek out" conflict, or otherwise engage in unsafe situations. Armed self
defense (IMO) is only for when an aggressor forces the issue, and presents no
other options (to escape for example). In other words, a last resort where the
only choices are to fight or die.
Your position somehow assumes you would win any such
conflict, which, until tested, is an unsupportable position.
Three words: Training, training, training. Now I will readily admit that no
amount of training will prepare someone for all situations, but I will also
state that if one straps on a gun, and does not seek out expert instruction and
regular training, then they _are_ a threat to their own safety.
Obviously, your probability is MUCH, MUCH higher of being one of them,
because you are armed.
Why? Maybe it is because of my education, but I can look at any home, and spot
several ways to inflict great bodily harm to myself, without looking too hard.
Many of these methods do not require traditional weapons.

In other words, if I want to end my chapter, I do not need a gun.
My chance of being a
gun-inflicted suicide is 0.00%... yours is more (maybe you don't suffer
from depression now, and maybe no temporary personal tragedy has made
you despondent... but if such things do happen [of course, I do not wish
them on you]...)
Suicide by gun is a messy affair. I know it is a method used by many, but the
chance of failing to complete the task exists, and I would prefer more certain
methods. HOWEVER, I do not worry that my death will come at my own purposeful
hand. I enjoy life too much, and I do not worry too much about my personal
future turning out to change that negatively.
Moreover, some of the rest are accidents.
Cannot refute that one. Natural Selection anyone?
As for homicide, well, you're far more likely to be either a victim or a
killer. If you are armed, it is quite possible that an angry loved one
would have access to that gun.... and no doubt regret shooting you after
his/her anger cooled.
I think she would prefer a kitchen knife. YMMV. ;)
And should you be mugged on the street by a
stranger, your chance of walking away dead (rather than just with less
money), are MANY times higher if you pull a gun on your assailant.
I will refer to my comments above, and again restate, that as a civilian, I
believe firearms are a last ditch effort, kind of like nuclear weapons. Only
"push the button" if you are screwed if you do not. Deployment of a weapon (any
weapon) must be considered with extreme prudence. Now I will agree that this is
not often the case, and that is what causes many of the negative statistics. I
will also agree that persons who cannot or will not exercise the required
discretion should not carry weapons.
Yes, because firearm owners ALWAYS get the drop on the bad duys, and
NEVER take one in the gut themselves.
NEVER say NEVER. Life is not scripted. I do not believe in fate.
I think (though I don't know), from self-defense courses run by police
a long, long time ago at a university far, far away, that your
statement alone actually /elevates/ the probability that you will be
one of them.
Times are a changin'. Different studies, and different ways of thought, result
in different conclusions. Again, based on the individuals training and
discipline, this concept can be either true or false. They used to preach
passiveness in rape-survival, acquiesce and live another day. Often the current
advice is opposite.
To /lower/ the probability, you'll need to talk about the
time you've spent on a tactical course or in police training.


Many, many, many hours (hint, hint). More than the average (citizen) bear. And
that friends, IMO, is the real problem.

What the heck does all this have to do with Python? Perhaps a different, but
topically improper Python: http://www.colt.com/CMCI/Python.asp

Off to the range.
Jul 18 '05 #39

P: n/a
Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <me***@gnosis.cx> writes:
Dave Brueck <da**@pythonapocrypha.com> wrote previously: [...] However, the CDC lists 2804 deaths from adverse effects in medical care,
or about 1 per 100k.

[...]

I'm very surprised -- that sounds way too low. Where is this category
defined?

Even when carefully defined in some sensible way, there must be big
uncertainties due to the present lack of knowledge about drug
interactions, and about other treatments causing hard-to-measure
increases in mortality over the long term. Epidemiology is a blunt
instrument, and we're still at an early stage in understanding
diseases.

Erm, anyone know the figures for mortality due to Pythons? <wink>
John
Jul 18 '05 #40

P: n/a
On Fri, 2003-08-29 at 10:51, ma**@easynews.com wrote:
On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 19:46:57 GMT, ma**@easynews.com wrote:
And my probability of being one of them is pretty low - because I am usually
armed ;)


Lots of replies. Rather than create a large list of individual responses, I will
summarize in this one post.


Don't have any responses (well, I do, but this is all far afield...) I
just wanted to point out that this was quite a civil discussion about
what can be a highly charged issue. Just wanted to thank everyone
involved for their cool heads.

--
Chad Netzer <cn*****@sonic.net>
Jul 18 '05 #41

P: n/a
Tayss wrote:
The irony though is that [Bowling for Columbine] raised
suspicions on the media, but of course this documentary is really
part of the media. It steered the audience very strongly at
times, and I wish he released the unedited footage of scenes like
the surprise interview at the end.


It seems just mean to me to take a guy with Alzhimer's and rake
him over the coals to me, but maybe it was shot before the
announcement that he had it...

-tom!

--
There's really no reason to send a copy of your
followup to my email address, so please don't.
Jul 18 '05 #42

P: n/a
On Sat, 2003-08-30 at 14:51, Tom Plunket wrote:
It seems just mean to me to take a guy with Alzhimer's and rake
him over the coals to me, but maybe it was shot before the
announcement that he had it...


It was. Well before.

--
Chad Netzer
Jul 18 '05 #43

P: n/a
In article <sD*******************@news20.bellglobal.com>,
Sean Ross <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> wrote:
"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> writes:
> (Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
> language).

Jul 18 '05 #44

P: n/a
Michael Hudson <mw*@python.net> writes:
I'm sure there are people who learnt ML during the CS program at
Cambridge more than five years ago...


Indeed, they were definitely teaching ML as the first language 15
years ago, and it wasn't a new policy at the time.
Jul 18 '05 #45

P: n/a
Cameron Laird wrote:
In article <sD*******************@news20.bellglobal.com>,
Sean Ross <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> wrote:
"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> writes:
(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
language).


.
.
.
Okay. "..., or some other language that supports functional programming
style)" (which would include those mentioned, and many more besides). For
instance,

http://directory.google.com/Top/Comp...nctional/?tc=1
Aleph (1)
BETA (8)
Caml (2)
Clean (6)
Dylan (19) <
Erlang (313)
Haskell (48) <
Leda (5)
Lisp (378) <
Logo (46)
Lua (18)
Mercury (4)
Miranda (10)
ML (35)
Mozart (2)
Objective Caml (5) <
Pliant (16)
POP-11 (6)
REBOL (95)
Scheme (127)
Sisal (12)


.
.
.
Someone needs to talk with the googlers; REBOL and Dylan
are not functional languages. And Lisp ... well, Lisp is
universal, so let's let that pass.


Not to re-open that can o' worms, but last time I looked, Dylan
supported functional programming style just fine. If memory serves, its
word for 'lambda' is 'method.' I've never heard of REBOL.

-thant

Jul 18 '05 #46

P: n/a
In article <bi**********@terabinaries.xmission.com>, Thant Tessman wrote:
Cameron Laird wrote:
In article <sD*******************@news20.bellglobal.com>,
Sean Ross <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> wrote:
"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectmail.carleton.ca> writes:
>(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
>language).


Someone needs to talk with the googlers; REBOL and Dylan
are not functional languages. And Lisp ... well, Lisp is
universal, so let's let that pass.


Not to re-open that can o' worms, but last time I looked, Dylan
supported functional programming style just fine. If memory serves, its
word for 'lambda' is 'method.' I've never heard of REBOL.


Yeah, Dylan is basically Scheme + CLOS, with a Modula-style syntax. So
it's a functional language.

REBOL is more interesting. The original interpreter was written by Joe
Marshall, and he wrote it so that it supported lexically-scoped
closures (and maybe tail-recursion too?). This makes it count as an
fpl, in my book. However, the second version was a rewrite that lost
those features, and as a result it's not an fpl anymore.
--
Neel Krishnaswami
ne***@cs.cmu.edu
Jul 18 '05 #47

P: n/a
so*************@yahoo.com (Stan Graves) wrote in message news:<3d**************************@posting.google. com>...
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message news:<Iv****************@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.rr.com>...
Stan Graves and Howard Nease shared the following exchange. I'd like
to add my two cents.
I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. ..... Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? .... What should I study in
college?


You should learn to think and to learn in college.

.... Study literature - I have yet to see a single computer scientist who
can manipulate symbols as well as Shakespeare. .....
What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I'd suggest English. The ability to communicate effectively is
probably more important than any technical skill.

.... --Stan Graves


<soapbox-mode>
Howard,

Stan has already given you some excellent advice. I'd like to add
some more.

I believe that all of education comes down to learning two languages:
whatever you speak at the dinner table and mathematics.

My dinner-table language is English; perhaps yours is as well. This
is the language we use to talk about what makes us human: our hopes,
our fears, our loves, our hates, and our passions. You will use this
language to court your partner, lead your peers, and console your
family and friends.

Master it. Use it with precision. As Stan wrote, read Shakespeare.
Read Churchill for his prose. Read poetry. (I like Robert Service,
plain though he may be.)

To work in a technical field you must write about technical things.
Read Paul Halmos' and Gil Strang's books on mathematics. Read "The
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" by Hal Abelson and
Gerald J. Sussman. (This is the best computer science book --- and
perhaps the best technical book --- I have ever read.) Don't worry
about mastering the details, concentrate on the elegance and precision
of their description. Ideas lost your head are useless; ideas on
paper, but not understood, are tragic.

Buy the "Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. Keep it handy. Read
it. (I keep a copy close to the bathroom.)

Write simple sentences. Use short words. These things are harder
than they seem.

Improve your vocabulary. Excise abstruse words. Churchill wrote
"Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are best of
all." He was right.

Just as your dinner-table language lets you describe the inside world
that makes you human, mathematics lets you describe the outside world
in which you live.

Mathematics lets us reason with precision. Here I use the word
"mathematics" to include almost any formal system for quantitative
reasoning.

I recommend that you learn all the traditional mathematics you can.
Take what courses you can. Mathematics has helped me learn
engineering, economics, and computer science. (It has also helped me
write good English.)

Still, you can learn your mathematics the other way around. Studying
economics, physics, engineering, and computer science can teach you
what you need. (I've found studying algorithms a particularly good
way to do this.) One of my friends --- and also David Mertz of Python
fame --- appear to have done it by studying philosophy.

Over all, the purpose of education is not to get a job, but to
understand the world and your place in it. A few of the best educated
people I have known were barely High School graduates; a few of the
worst have PhDs.

And when you're done, stop.
</soapbox mode>

Peter Olsen, AeE., P.E.
pc*****@comcast.net

"Engineering is the art of using a professional knowledge of
mathematics and the physical sciences to improve the quality of life."
Jul 18 '05 #48

P: n/a
pc*****@comcast.net (Peter Olsen) writes:
so*************@yahoo.com (Stan Graves) wrote in message news:<3d**************************@posting.google. com>... [...] Master it. Use it with precision. As Stan wrote, read Shakespeare.
Read Churchill for his prose. Read poetry. (I like Robert Service,
plain though he may be.)

[...]

Poor guy -- all he asked was what programming language to learn next,
and he gets deluged with everybody's Lessons in Life ;-)
John
Jul 18 '05 #49

P: n/a
On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 13:46:27 -0700, Stan Graves wrote:
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since
I was 12 years old.

(Unrelated to my reason for posting: You don't *need* to leave Computer
Science, it's not going anywhere. People choose to become professional
musicians, too, even though almost nobody can even make a living at it.
You can be a Computer Scientist, you just may not make a lot of money.
C'est la vie; for me, I still have to be a Computer Scientist, I love it
too much to quit.)
Study literature - I have yet to see a single computer scientist who can
manipulate symbols as well as Shakespeare.


class Rose:
"A Rose is a Rose is a Rose."""
def sweetness(self):
return "very"

rose = Rose()
otherName = rose
assert rose.sweetness() == otherName.sweetness()

Would you *notice* if a computer scientist matched Shakespeare?

How can you compare the two at all?

Statements like that sound all profound but are really the exact opposite;
meaningless.

Jul 18 '05 #50

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