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[EVALUATION] - E04 - Leadership! Google, Guido van Rossum, PSF

Python Leadership was a weakness [1] and becomes now a threat for
python, thanks to Mr. van Rossums employment at Google.

-

I've wrote the Leadership list prioritized (Google rules, Mr. van Rossum
follows, PSF watches and accepts).

The core developer of an open-source-project is 'captured' by an giant
(Google).

The giant does not inform the community directly, e.g. whilst posting
an official statement to this media or with an official anouncement
(which clarifies the details of the deal).

Mr. van Rossum does not inform the community directly.

The Open Source Project (PSF) does not inform the community directly.

Just a thread with a little bit rumour.

Guido at Google
http://groups.google.com/group/comp....c299b817dca256

Really, this does not make a very professional impression.

And this has of course nothing to do with "Leadership" - which should
protect an community from wasting time and energy with unnecessary
assumptions and speculations.

-

[1]

Within this thread (which contained a simple rational change-suggestion)
i've finally contacted the foundation.

[EVALUATION] - E02 - Support for MinGW Open Source Compiler
http://groups.google.com/group/comp....2aad11f0516918

The foundation had reacted by email, but just with some justifications.

Mr. van Rossum has reacted, too. This led to some funny (and off-topic)
conversation, which was closed to be published (but finally he decided
opposite).

And very finally he suggested that I suffer from some mental disease.
Many people simplify: "what I don't understand, must be nuts".

I hope that he understands now (possibly he has the courage for an
apology?):

http://lazaridis.com/core/index.html

..

--
http://lazaridis.com/core/eval/python.html
Dec 26 '05
104 5043
Ilias Lazaridis <il***@lazaridis.com> wrote:
...
One normally does not define large numbers of identical accessors (there

[...] - (extensive elaboration)

possibly one can provide the code for something similar to the ruby
attr_accessor:

class Talker
def sayHello
puts "Hello world"
end

attr_accessor :name, :age

end

thus they can later be accessed this way

john.age = 19

print john.age


Yes: the amount of code one needs to provide for this purpose is, NONE.

class Talker(object):
pass

You can now write

john = Talker()
john.age = 19
print john.age

just as you request. _No need to provide ANY code in the class_.

If you want an initial/default value for the .age parameter, you'll want
to add an __init__ setting it (otherwise, trying to print john.age
WITHOUT having previously set john.age will produce an AttributeError --
I wish all languages were so nice as to similarly let me know about
attempts to use uninitialized variables/attributes!-).

But still, you don't need any accessor methods -- setters and getters --
unless there's something "real" that you want code to perform upon any
setting and/or getting of an attribute (when there IS something special
of that kind, and only then, you code setter and/or getter and use
property, but then it won't be REPETITIVE [boilerplate] code, because
there WILL be something special in those methods you're coding...).

BTW, all I say about setting and getting an attribute also applies to
REMOVING an attribute, aka DELETING it. Dunno why nobody ever seems to
think about it, but it should be possible to have some attributes that
are optional, and thus to remove them if/when they're not needed any
more.

Let me give an example: say that anybody under 18 must have a legal
guardian, but there is no concept of legal guardian for anybody who is
18 or over; then, you might have:

class Person(object):
def __init__(self, name, parent):
# the person is born: age 0, given name, legal guardian is parent
self._age = 0
self.name = name
self.guardian = parent
def getAge(self):
return self._age
def setAge(self, age):
if hasattr(self, 'guardian') and age>=18: del self.guardian
self._age = age
age = property(getAge, setAge)

This is a good example of a case in which you need to run some code when
john.age is set, because if it's set to 18 or over you want to remove
john's attribute defining his legal guardian -- so, you use a property.
You don't need properties for the name and guardian attributes, because
so far at least we have not specified any code that needs to run when
those attributes are gotten, set, or deleted; if and when the specs
changes, you can change the definition of the class and NOT change any
client-code, because the client code still uses the attributes in
exactly the same way, e.g. "john.age += 1", whether a corresponding
property is defined, or not.

instance and introspecting on it. Would such instantiation be OK here?


If I understand you right, it would be ok.

The requirements are given by the template:

john.sayYourClassDefinition()

"john" is instantiated, when asked for his class definition.


OK, I'll look into that in my copious spare time (unless somebody else
does the work first;-).

"assign to it" with:

setattr(Talker, 'meta', "Class meta information")

but _not_ with this:

Talker.meta = "Class meta information"

correct?


Nope: both forms have IDENTICAL semantics. They both work in just the
SAME way.

Try it out...!


But this means that "assignment of metadata" works fine.


Yes, on mutable objects such as ordinary classes it does work fine. It
would not work on immutable objects such as strings or numbers.

>class Talker(object): pass


...
>Talker.meta = 'class metainfo'
>print Talker.meta


class metainfo


thus if I make a typo, I create a new attribute?


Yep, just like, I believe, in Ruby; if you meant to assign to @zappo but
happen to mistakenly assign to @zippo instead, you've created a new
attribute. In Python, if you wish, you can check for such "oops"-level
errors by using tools such as pychecker or pyLint, which of course can
also check for other "oopses" besides "variable/attribute created once
but never used nor referenced". I've seen some people program their
editors to routinely run pychecker when saving files with a .py
extension, for example.

Personally, I don't generally bother with pychecker (even though its
most excellent author is my friend and colleague Neal Norwitz) because
compilers and lint tools just can't catch ALL of my "oopses" -- for
example, if I meant to write count+=1 but made a typo and wrote count-=1
instead, no checker/lint/compiler is gonna catch it for me. So, I have
learned that I need to write *UNIT-TESTS* for all of my code -- me and
another million programmers. Of course, unit tests, which are
indispensable anyway to catch the += vs -= typoes, as a side effect also
catch any typos such as zippo vs zappo. Very good expansions on these
fundamental ideas can be seen at
<http://www.mindview.net/WebLog/log-0025> and
<http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?thread=4639>, by excellent
authors Bruce Eckel and Robert Martin respectively (great experts of
such languages as Java and C++, but aficionados of Python, Ruby,
Smalltalk thanks to these considerations).
Alex
Jan 4 '06 #51
[much stuff deleted that I mostly agree with to get at an interesting
chunk of disagreement]

In article <pa****************************@REMOVETHIScyber.co m.au>,
Steven D'Aprano <st***@REMOVETHIScyber.com.au> wrote:

By contrast, today's professional bodies like law, medicine etc. have
independent standards of skill that must be met. I don't wish to deny
that knowing the right people can help smooth the procedure of becoming
a doctor, lawyer, etc., but failing to have an uncle who is a lawyer is no
barrier to becoming a lawyer, provided you can pass the bar exam. That is
very different from the guild system.


Unfortunately, this isn't quite true. Medicine and law both require the
passing of an apprenticeship, so there's still some room for favoritism
and blackballing.
--
Aahz (aa**@pythoncraft.com) <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"Given that C++ has pointers and typecasts, it's really hard to have a
serious conversation about type safety with a C++ programmer and keep a
straight face. It's kind of like having a guy who juggles chainsaws
wearing body armor arguing with a guy who juggles rubber chickens wearing
a T-shirt about who's in more danger." --Roy Smith
Jan 4 '06 #52
Steven D'Aprano said unto the world upon 03/01/06 07:33 PM:
On Tue, 03 Jan 2006 08:27:39 -0800, Alex Martelli wrote:

Or some even more stringent qualification, such as the state's Bar exam
for lawyers -- you may not be able to sit for that exam w/o the
appropriate degree, but the degree by itself is not enough, you still
have to pass the exam. It is that way for Engineers in Italy (I passed
my State Exam in the early '80s), although you only need the certificate
for some specific professional undertakings (e.g. design a ship, or a
large building, or technically supervise building operations beyond a
certain size -- not to write software or to design chips).

Personally, I agree with the theory, first expressed by Adam Smith, that
such barriers to entry are mostly useful to grant practitioners of a
certain profession the "scarcity value" that lets them charge higher
prices, although of course they're always presented as "good for
society". Note that in Europe in the Middle Ages you needed strict
qualifications of that kind for just about anything -- you could not
make hats unless you belonged to the Hatters' Guild, etc; most of those
restrictions have since been lifted, but a few groups (doctors, lawyers,
accountants, ...) have managed to keep them in place.

Let's not confuse the medieval guild system with today's system. Guilds
were more like clubs than professional bodies: it was who you knew, rather
than what you knew, that decided whether you got in. You were forbidden
from becoming (say) a hat maker unless the other hat makers allowed you to
join the guild. There was no independent, or even semi-independent, body
who decided what qualifications were needed to make hats. It was all about
who you knew -- if your uncle's best friend was a hat maker, you could be
apprenticed to a hat maker and join the guild, otherwise there was no exam
to sit that got you in, no matter how talented you were.


<snip>
By contrast, today's professional bodies like law, medicine etc. have
independent standards of skill that must be met. I don't wish to deny
that knowing the right people can help smooth the procedure of becoming
a doctor, lawyer, etc., but failing to have an uncle who is a lawyer is no
barrier to becoming a lawyer, provided you can pass the bar exam. That is
very different from the guild system.
<snip>
Another major difference between today's professional bodies and medieval
guilds is that the scarcity is not entirely (or even mostly) caused by
the professional body. It is the universities controlling prerequisite
degrees that gain more from the scarcity: within reason, the fewer places
they offer for (say) law degrees, the higher fees they can charge for
them. In my inexpert opinion, the cause of shortages of experts is more
the fault of the universities than of the professional bodies.


According to the 2000 US Census, in a population of 174,136,341 people
between 18 and 65
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_DP1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U>,
there were a total of 862,037 lawyers
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-reg=DEC_2000_SF4_U_PCT086:001&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF4_U&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_PCT086&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_PCT205&-format=&-CONTEXT=dt>
among the employed people 16 years and older.

So, just shy of 1 out of every 200 working-aged people in the USA were
lawyers in 2000.

I'm inclined to agree with the claim that law schools don't have the
correct number of seats, but I think we might just differ on which way
the adjustment should go :-)

(I do realize that US data isn't most pertinent to Steven, Alex or
myself -- au, it, ca -- but it is ready to hand. Shamefully, my
government wants to charge me for the occupation data, and Steven's
didn't yield free data before my patience and resolve wore out.)

Best,

Brian vdB
Jan 4 '06 #53
On Wednesday 28 Dec 2005 17:58:33, Robert Kern wrote:
....
Sorry to reply to the thread so late in the day, but I noticed (via
QOTW :-( ) that Anton got worked up at me suggesting that congratulating
someone with a new job was a nice idea (surprised me too - all the
Google employees I've met have been very nice people), read the
thread (got sad) and then saw this:
Who is "the man"? If Google were to hire you with no experience, would
you then have "worked for the man"?


If you want to understand the reference, the most fun recent
explanation I've seen is in "School of Rock". Jack Black's character
explains it far better than I ever could :)

Regards,
Michael.
--
Mi************@rd.bbc.co.uk, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/
British Broadcasting Corporation, Research and Development
Kingswood Warren, Surrey KT20 6NP

This message (and any attachments) may contain personal views
which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.

Jan 4 '06 #54
Alex Martelli wrote:
Ilias Lazaridis <il***@lazaridis.com> wrote: [...]
possibly one can provide the code for something similar to the ruby
attr_accessor:

class Talker
def sayHello
puts "Hello world"
end

attr_accessor :name, :age

end

thus they can later be accessed this way

john.age = 19

print john.age [...] Yes: the amount of code one needs to provide for this purpose is, NONE. [...] just as you request. _No need to provide ANY code in the class_.

[...] - (elaborations on getter/setter need)

I've understood your elaborations.

I would need this python "attr_accessor", to showcase that python is
capable to do it (even if the usage seems irrational/redundant).
instance and introspecting on it. Would such instantiation be OK here?


If I understand you right, it would be ok.

The requirements are given by the template:

john.sayYourClassDefinition()

"john" is instantiated, when asked for his class definition.


OK, I'll look into that in my copious spare time (unless somebody else
does the work first;-).


would be very nice!
"assign to it" with:

setattr(Talker, 'meta', "Class meta information") [...]Talker.meta = "Class meta information" [...]
But this means that "assignment of metadata" works fine.


Yes, on mutable objects such as ordinary classes it does work fine. It
would not work on immutable objects such as strings or numbers.


ok
class Talker(object): pass
>>Talker.meta = 'class metainfo'
>>print Talker.meta

class metainfo


thus if I make a typo, I create a new attribute?


Yep, just like, I believe, in Ruby; if you meant to assign to @zappo but
happen to mistakenly assign to @zippo instead, you've created a new
attribute. In Python, if you wish, you can check for such "oops"-level

[...] - (elaborations on code-verification / unit-testing)

Ok.

..

--
http://lazaridis.com
Jan 4 '06 #55
Michael Sparks wrote:
Sorry to reply to the thread so late in the day, but I noticed (via
QOTW :-( ) that Anton got worked up at me suggesting that congratulating
someone with a new job was a nice idea (surprised me too - all the
Google employees I've met have been very nice people), read the
thread (got sad) and then saw this:


Strange, I *did* get worked up at you some (long) time ago, probably
without you ever noticing, it was about your pythagorean proof about
anyone being able to learn kamelia quickly because you had some student
who had no problems whatsoever with it,

http://www.atopia.tk/anamnesis/kittleren.htm

while I could not find a clue what your software was supposed to do,
except being something very exciting (and I think I know python well
enough to not often have that problem), but I did not get worked up at
you because of you congratulating Guido. To make it more clear :
Congratulations Guido, with your new job!

However I still maintain that I was never able to meet these fine
people you speak about and which you seem to know because the cost
involved (a few hundred euro to visit pycon for example) was too high
compared to my food budget.

What I was trying to explain was that the world gets closer and closer
to the singularity (something I believe other people got worked up at
*me* about) and the world is now at the stage where everything gets
reinvented in about 5 years. This means that during the next 2.5 years
some phenomenon like Google changing internet history (which happened
in the last five years) will happen again (in a shorter time period).

Since we are going to reinvent ourselves faster and faster there is no
need to take old corrupt methods with us into the future. Some people
(maybe suffering from a wierd kind of conceptual static typing) equate
me talking about 'people having a backstabbing history' with implying
those exact people actually stab other people in the back literally.
'Having a backstabbing history' can also be explained as having been
into places where backstabbing was common, without implying any actual
backstabbing of these people themselves, except maybe the greater whole
they belonged to being instrumental to backstabbing, for example
mathemathics professors helping to crack codes which are used to
decipher or encode messages in a war situation.

I've already mentioned somewhere that I meant it figuratively and I
will further qualify it now by saying that Googles selection process
does them and the world a disservice by using some kind of elitist
criteria, or by hiring people who can prove that they -forced by market
mechanisms no doubt- have in the past collaborated with or worked for
companies that selected them on the basis of elitist criteria.

The elitist selection process suffers from the same problems that for
example IQ-tests have: Trying to scale something in one (or at least
too few) dimensions, where that something is very, very, very
multidimensional. It is insulting, inappropriate and denigrating when
applied to humans. Of course, irony will have people using elitist
selection processes being very personally offended by people pointing
out that it is unfair. Just like those who stole my money and job
opportunities now claim I'm a parasite or some wrathfull loser who
doesn't want to work.

In fact, although I still don't condone corruption, my vision has
cleared up a lot by not eating its fruits anymore. I am not jealous at
anyone still 'inside' and although I dream about trying to save people
from places where people get murdered randomly (the dreaded
backstabbing reference again), it gets less and less often as time goes
by. My current worry is about how I can survive for another 2.5 years
(the projected time period for the world to renew itself again) without
me jumping off a ledge because I dont want to be (and possibly live
forever without dying) with irrational people who don't deserve my
company or get offed by someone who can't stand me not joining
corruption.

It's possible some next generation of people don't want the current
population to survive because they are not advancing fast enough or
lack compassion with lower lifeforms. If anything, my post was about
trying to save the world from that fate by trying to induce that
compassion into this newsgroup. I think it would be beneficial for our
people working for google (and for google itself) if they freed
themselves of any remaining corruption so that world evolution will be
synchronized with social evolution and no unnecessary tensions will
occur.

Anton

'workout'

Jan 4 '06 #56
Ilias Lazaridis <il***@lazaridis.com> wrote:
...
attr_accessor :name, :age
... I would need this python "attr_accessor", to showcase that python is
capable to do it (even if the usage seems irrational/redundant).


The code for it was in one of my previous posts, in more than one form,
but here it is again, more or less:

def add_silly_attr_accessor_to_a_class(klass, name):
def get(self, name): return getattr(self, '_'+name)
def set(self, name, value): return setattr(self, '_'+name, value)
setattr(klass, name, property(get, set))

to be used as in:

add_silly_attr_accessor_to_a_class(Talker, 'name')
add_silly_attr_accessor_to_a_class(Talker, 'age')

outside of the body of Talker. If you'd rather have it used INSIDE the
body of Talker, then:

def make_silly_attr_accessor(name):
def get(self, name): return getattr(self, '_'+name)
def set(self, name, value): return setattr(self, '_'+name, value)
return property(get, set)

to be used as in:

class Talker(object):
age = make_silly_attr_accessor('age')
name = make_silly_attr_accessor('name')

Finally, you could choose to use a decorator syntax instead:

def silly_attr_accessor_via_decorator(f):
name = '_'+f.__name__
def get(self, name): return getattr(self, '_'+name)
def set(self, name, value): return setattr(self, '_'+name, value)
return property(get, set)

to be used as in:

class Talker(object):
@silly_attr_accessor_via_decorator
def name(): pass
@silly_attr_accessor_via_decorator
def age(): pass

The latter is arguably a stretching of the concept of decorator, which
is meant to be a nice syntax for a higher-order-function (taking a
function as its argument and returning another function built by
modifying the argument one) -- here we're only using the *name* of the
"function" (name or age) and ignoring the object entirely (which is why
in the example use I'm defining the ``functions'' as empty, using the
no-op statement ``pass''). Still, some people believe there is mystical
and magical power in having special syntax for something rather than
using perfectly normal, general, and existing syntax for the purpose;
such syntax-obsessed people will no doubt be more impressed by seeing
the "special syntax" in use, than by ordinary, bread-and-butter
closures, properties and assignment statements...;-)
Alex
Jan 4 '06 #57
Brian van den Broek <br***@cc.umanitoba.ca> wrote:
(I do realize that US data isn't most pertinent to Steven, Alex or
myself -- au, it, ca -- but it is ready to hand. Shamefully, my


Actually, I've been living in the US for over 9 months now, and like all
immigrants I have more dealings with lawyers &c than the average Joe,
so, it IS quite pertinent to my daily life, thanks;-)
Alex
Jan 4 '06 #58
Alex Martelli wrote:
Ilias Lazaridis <il***@lazaridis.com> wrote:
attr_accessor :name, :age
I would need this python "attr_accessor", to showcase that python is
capable to do it (even if the usage seems irrational/redundant).
[...] - (comments, code "outside the body")
def make_silly_attr_accessor(name):
def get(self, name): return getattr(self, '_'+name)
def set(self, name, value): return setattr(self, '_'+name, value)
return property(get, set)

to be used as in:

class Talker(object):
age = make_silly_attr_accessor('age')
name = make_silly_attr_accessor('name')

Finally, you could choose to use a decorator syntax instead:

[...] - (decorator example, comments)

ok, this one is nice.

-

[/REQUOTE]
> instance and introspecting on it. Would such instantiation be OK here?

If I understand you right, it would be ok.

The requirements are given by the template:

john.sayYourClassDefinition()

"john" is instantiated, when asked for his class definition.

OK, I'll look into that in my copious spare time (unless somebody else
does the work first;-).


would be very nice!

[/REQUOTE]

Just for completeness:

I some reader has a compact solution, please post it or sent it via
email / form.

-

Mr. Martelli,

Thank you very much !!!

..

--
http://lazaridis.com
Jan 4 '06 #59
On 3 Jan 2006 20:09:34 -0800, aa**@pythoncraft.com (Aahz) wrote:
Unfortunately, this isn't quite true. Medicine and law both require the
passing of an apprenticeship, so there's still some room for favoritism
and blackballing.


In the UK, in Medicine, House Officer jobs pretty much match the
qualification numbers. Sure, which HO post you get can give your career a
head start, but that advantage is evanescent if you can't cut the mustard.

Fouling your career by upsetting the wrong people is, OTOH, easy to do.

DaveM
Jan 5 '06 #60
DaveM wrote:
On 3 Jan 2006 20:09:34 -0800, aa**@pythoncraft.com (Aahz) wrote:
Unfortunately, this isn't quite true. Medicine and law both require the
passing of an apprenticeship, so there's still some room for favoritism
and blackballing.


In the UK, in Medicine, House Officer jobs pretty much match the
qualification numbers. Sure, which HO post you get can give your career a
head start, but that advantage is evanescent if you can't cut the mustard.

Fouling your career by upsetting the wrong people is, OTOH, easy to do.


Maybe not many people realize that it's also possible that *having* a
degree or having the *wrong* degree can also be a barrier. Or maybe
that's just the case in highly bureaucratic societies like the
Netherlands.

I finished a study in the social sciences, but since I refused draft I
had to do some social service work as a replacement. This was
explicitly meant to be *careerbreaking*, because if it were otherwise
it would be an advantage over other people who voluntarily went into
the preparing to kill people business. However, women, and people who
got out on a medical indication or because of surplus draftee numbers
did not have to do this. Also, during draft a lot of people got free
drivers licenses (for all vehicles). Having done draft is generally
seen as some positive contribution to society.

My social service work consisted of working as a programmer for a mad
computer scientist who just threw me out after I had doubts about
machine intelligence being feasible in less than a decade or so (and he
badly needed a publication). This completely (for science) useless and
overpayed guy (doctor at a public university) could practically do
anything he liked with me because I just had to break my career anyway
according to my social service contact person.

Before I had my degree as a social scientist I had spend many years in
the same kind of situation but then serving as an intermediary person
between a computer running statistical programs and an elderly
professor who was almost retiring but wanted to make one big
publication before he vanished into oblivion. Of course this guy was
very reluctant to let me finish my thesis because he would be without a
computer programmer then, and he was already to old to learn it
himself, while I seem to have a natural talent for handling computers,
even among people who are of my age.

Going back a little further in time, I remember a period as an intern
where I was not allowed to publish my seperate analysis of the data
*before* the same data was exhaustively studied and published by the
guy who had ordered the survey to take place (payed by government money
of course). Since this guy *never* seemed to be ready to publish
anything (personal problems, divorce and such things) my complete
internship was wasted in terms of getting anything I wrote out of this,
officially.

Now returning to being thrown out by the mad professor, I had the
choice between labeling books for the rest of my time doing social
service or finding some other careerbreaker. Luckily I had made some
friends while playing go (the oriental boardgame) and they introduced
me to their mathematics professor who subsequently let me do some
programming work there.

What struck me most was that the abyss between the social sciences and
mathematics was nearly absolute. While social scientists use
mathematics in a statistical way, their main aim is always to assert
that they are actually measuring what is supposed to be measured. This
can get quite sophisticated, for example if you give a person two
possible choices, will the data be comparable to data acquired with the
person having five possible answers? On the other hand, mathematicians
want to cut loose from the data acquiring stage as soon as possible and
just work with their formulas without making any assumptions about
reality. Lines have no thickness, scales are neat continuous variables,
correlations can be nicely separated in orthogonal factors, and so on.

After my social service was over I tried to find jobs at universities
or public institutions. I did find a research job at the headquarter of
the institution that gives money to unemployed or sick people. I soon
noticed that even before I had begun to work there it was decided that
there could be no way for me to publish anything based on data from
that site, because that data was hoarded by other people in much the
same way as the research data was guarded by the guy from my
internship.

The trick was to let me handle anonimizing and security, and being the
only person officially able to link data to persons, of course I was
not allowed to publish anything.

However, in this capacity I met a lot of people from smaller executive
departements from all over the country and I noticed that they too were
guarding their data as if their jobs depended on them, which was
probably not completely a strange assumption, from their perspective.

What they did was to send only "roughed up" data and selective parts of
the data they collected to the headquarters so that their complete
dataset never could be reconstructed and that way they always would
have that little negotiating edge to keep their jobs secure.

When I started a process to centralize the data and proposed to try and
avoid data corruption by intermediaries I found myself without a job,
really very soon.

I tried to find other jobs. I got an offer from a university, but again
there was no way to do my own research, even hinting at the possibility
of doing research made it impossible to even get the assisting job. It
was very hard to find jobs at universities with my background because
by now I was some kind of a strange amalgament of psychology, computer
science, mathematics and medical statistics person with some government
background.

There are (or at least there were at that time) huge gaps between the
different departments in the Netherlands' universities, programming was
grouped with the exact sciences and no psychologist could enter there.
Also psychologists would not let anyone enter who was 'infected' with
mathematics or computer science, except in some highly restricted
sub-departments of psychology of which there weren't very many.

After a few years I realized that trying to find a job this way was
hopeless, universities select not only by degree but also -and more
importantly- on the basis of personal contacts. Contacts which had been
broken on purpose by my government during my social service. Since I
borrowed a lot of money in order to be able to study for the title, the
idea of this being a theft of my money by the government comes to my
mind. My old professor was already retired and hadn't had many contacts
anyway, which made my situation even worse.

Now the nightmare really started. One would think that if higher
positions were not available then I would surely be eligible for
something lower in the ranks, maybe even way low down because money was
becoming very scarce.

No way. Everywhere I applied they required my complete job history and
after studing this thoroughly it was decided that I was just not the
right kind of person because the work would not be "interesting" enough
for me. They expected me to stay only a few weeks and then quit anyway
so why bother hiring me, even for the lowest of jobs. Somehow I suspect
some of these people to have been feeling threatened for their own
position if some person with higher education would work under them.

This went on for a few years, which I spent programming for myself,
discovering *Python*, doing some freelance work (but a few weeks work
in a year doesn't pay enough), and walking a lot and making photographs
along the way.

In the meantime, agencies were complaining about the large 'holes' in
my resume and, seeing that I had been unemployed for some time, my
chances of getting hired grew even slimmer. Work as a practicing
psychologist at a cliniq was impossible too because the eyes of the HRP
would become glazy immediately upon seeing my computer 'infected'
resume.

Work in a public function was impossible too, because job interviews
always seemed to gravitate towards my theory that mixing different
cultural groups (as was the theme of my thesis) was beneficial for
society as a whole *and* for the individual subculture, while official
policy at the time was demanding to give each group their own space and
language. Of course, that way a lot more government personel would be
secure of their jobs because everything had to be done seperately for
every subculture.

Next I came into the hands of special government agencies who were
handling the hard cases of unemployment. Let's get these unwilling lazy
bastards a job and stop them from parasitizing on our government money.
I was forced to comply with stupid courses which didn't help at all
(certainly not with finding me a job) and finally when nothing worked I
was forced to apply to nonsense jobs day after day just for the hell of
it, because if I still hadn't found a job I must have been a very
antisocial tough case who had to be handled the hard way.

I developed an allergy against sending resumes. I just couldn't stand
talking to human resource people about the so called 'holes' in my
resume anymore, pointing out that these holes where not holes at all
but that I had made very significant progress during that time, not the
least among these advancements was having become a very experienced
programmer.

Nothing would change the mind of future employers or employment
agencies however, most of the time one is not talking to people who
have a clue about programming anyway. So the only thing that counted on
a resume was *working* experience, and not just working experience
plain, but also it had to be exactly the right kind of working
experience, which with my diverse background would be too thin in any
specific way.

My allergy to resumes, not getting accepted because my education being
to high, my experience being to low for anything specific, brought me
me into further major trouble with the social security office. It was
just not allowed to experience traumatic consequences because of their
treatment, because what they did was just the law, and what could be
wrong with that, even if it meant forcing me day in day out to apply
for jobs till I snapped.

I decided to prevent that and rather be without any money from my
government than be continously tortured and degraded. Since then I
haven't heard anything from them anymore, I lost my social contacts one
by one because poverty doesn't make one popular, and I broke with my
family because for some reason they seem to think what the government
did was "good for me" when it nearly drove me to suicide.

Maybe this further clarifies my objections against elitist selection
procedures, based on degrees. Even if I have a degree, it always was
the wrong one.

The degree system itself is also funny. There have been many reforms in
the Netherlands and each time those working at universities have
automatically upgraded their degrees to the highest level while such
upgrading is not possible for those without a job. The system works
like this:

We have ranks a,b,c were a is lowest and c is highest.

People start at 'a' progress to 'b' and finally want to do 'c'.

However, just before reaching 'c', a new 'c' is created and the
previous categories 'a' and 'b' are taken together and put in a new
category 'a'. (I am planning to write a nice Python script showing this
algorithm sometime). This has happened a few times now in the
Netherlands and one wonders about the ingenuity with which people
having fixed positions at universities have come up with new
requirements, distinctions and titles to secure their jobs and justify
their never changing authority on all matters scientific. We have
computer science professors who cannot operate a mouse, mathematical
professors who only visit congresses or 'guide' students.

Never mind that most of the times the student does all the work and
receives almost no payment, and the professors know next to nothing
about the subject (except from times long gone) and enjoy luxurious
quarters and working conditions, foreign travel arrangements and a big
secure salary check each month.

Anton

'excuse me if I sound a bit bitter and as if suffering from a sense of
untitlement'

Jan 5 '06 #61

On Jan 3, 2006, at 9:54 PM, Brian van den Broek wrote:
Steven D'Aprano said unto the world upon 03/01/06 07:33 PM:
On Tue, 03 Jan 2006 08:27:39 -0800, Alex Martelli wrote:

Or some even more stringent qualification, such as the state's
Bar exam
for lawyers -- you may not be able to sit for that exam w/o the
appropriate degree, but the degree by itself is not enough, you
still
have to pass the exam. It is that way for Engineers in Italy (I
passed
my State Exam in the early '80s), although you only need the
certificate
for some specific professional undertakings (e.g. design a ship,
or a
large building, or technically supervise building operations
beyond a
certain size -- not to write software or to design chips).

Personally, I agree with the theory, first expressed by Adam
Smith, that
such barriers to entry are mostly useful to grant practitioners of a
certain profession the "scarcity value" that lets them charge higher
prices, although of course they're always presented as "good for
society". Note that in Europe in the Middle Ages you needed strict
qualifications of that kind for just about anything -- you could not
make hats unless you belonged to the Hatters' Guild, etc; most of
those
restrictions have since been lifted, but a few groups (doctors,
lawyers,
accountants, ...) have managed to keep them in place.

Let's not confuse the medieval guild system with today's system.
Guilds
were more like clubs than professional bodies: it was who you
knew, rather
than what you knew, that decided whether you got in. You were
forbidden
from becoming (say) a hat maker unless the other hat makers
allowed you to
join the guild. There was no independent, or even semi-
independent, body
who decided what qualifications were needed to make hats. It was
all about
who you knew -- if your uncle's best friend was a hat maker, you
could be
apprenticed to a hat maker and join the guild, otherwise there was
no exam
to sit that got you in, no matter how talented you were.


<snip>
By contrast, today's professional bodies like law, medicine etc. have
independent standards of skill that must be met. I don't wish to deny
that knowing the right people can help smooth the procedure of
becoming
a doctor, lawyer, etc., but failing to have an uncle who is a
lawyer is no
barrier to becoming a lawyer, provided you can pass the bar exam.
That is
very different from the guild system.


<snip>
Another major difference between today's professional bodies and
medieval
guilds is that the scarcity is not entirely (or even mostly)
caused by
the professional body. It is the universities controlling
prerequisite
degrees that gain more from the scarcity: within reason, the fewer
places
they offer for (say) law degrees, the higher fees they can charge for
them. In my inexpert opinion, the cause of shortages of experts is
more
the fault of the universities than of the professional bodies.


So, just shy of 1 out of every 200 working-aged people in the USA were
lawyers in 2000.

I'm inclined to agree with the claim that law schools don't have the
correct number of seats, but I think we might just differ on which way
the adjustment should go :-)


<snip>

My professional body (The American Chemical Society, no, I'm not a
professional programmer), takes the opinion that the more chemists
there are in the world the better. It keeps labor costs down.

That's what happens when the professional bodies are controlled by
large corporate interests. So, meanwhile, I sit at home and wait for
the "undersupply" of scientists to correct itself. I have visions of
starting my own manufacturing company, but it's hard to find capital.
There are way too many dead and dying small companies around Michigan
and way too many unemployed scientists and engineers, and lots of us
have great ideas for companies.

Fortunately, this gives me plenty of time to learn Python and write
code to simulate and optimize my manufacturing process!

:--David
Jan 6 '06 #62
Ilias Lazaridis wrote:
I estimate that there is a "unfreeze" operation, too - which would lead
to flexibity.
There is none, you have to make a copy of the object via the "dup"
(duplicate) method to get an unfrozen copy (note: clone yields an exact
copy, which means that it's still frozen).

Unfreezing an object is forbidden in Ruby.

Alex Martelli wrote: At the other extreme, Ruby's very productive choice is to
allow freeze and unfreeze of everything (I believe -- but you should
double check with a Ruby expert) I'm no ruby expert, but I'm pretty sure there is no way to unfreeze a
frozen ruby object, you *have* to create a molten copy with the "dup"
method.

Ilias Lazaridis wrote: Alex Martelli wrote:
Ilias Lazaridis <il***@lazaridis.com> wrote: [...] - google stuff
http://lazaridis.com/case/lang/pytho...ariable_access

this leads to a new limitation:

"#LIMITATION: large amount of repetitive code"

One normally does not define large numbers of identical accessors (there

[...] - (extensive elaboration)

possibly one can provide the code for something similar to the ruby
attr_accessor:

class Talker
def sayHello
puts "Hello world"
end

attr_accessor :name, :age

end

thus they can later be accessed this way

john.age = 19

print john.age

There is no point, these exist because a ruby attribute can *never* be
accessed from outside the object, a Ruby attribute is always private
while a Python attribute is always public. This means that you *have to*
declare properties to have the ability to access an attribute of a Ruby
object, which lead to attr_accessor, attr_reader and attr_writer as
shortcut-declarations of basic properties.

The Pythonic equivalent of Ruby's attr_accessor is merely to do nothing,
because what the attr_accessor does is:

attr_accessor :something
generates
def something
@something
end
def something= value
@something = value
end

but not doing it would prevent any access to the "something" attribute.
(attr_reader only declares the getter method, making the attribute
read-only, and attr_writer only defines the setter, making the attribute
write-only)

One thing that is very important is that in Ruby you *never* deal with
member attributes from outside the object, only methods (messages to the
object).
In Python, you deal either with methods (messages) or attributes
(datas), but these attributes can be either "real" attributes (real
unchecked data) or properties, e.g. virtual attributes (that may
generate side-effects, sanity check on the data, or _may not map to any
existing unique data in the object_) and unless you really try to, you
don't have any way to distinguish a "real" attribute from a property
("virtual" attribute), and you don't care.

thus if I make a typo, I create a new attribute?

Why yes of course, what were you expecting?
Jan 6 '06 #63
Xavier Morel <xa**********@masklinn.net> writes:
Ilias Lazaridis wrote:
> thus if I make a typo, I create a new attribute?

Why yes of course, what were you expecting?


Actually, it's not quite that way. If you make a typo reading an
attribute, you'll create an exception. There are languages where
making a typo reading an exception creates the attribute, giving it
some default value.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Jan 6 '06 #64
Ilias Lazaridis wrote:
[...]
For Software Engineer:

"""
Requirements:

* BS or MS in Computer Science or equivalent (PhD a plus).


Right here.


This requirement is really funny.

I thought google is somehow different.

[...]

from within this thread:
http://groups.google.com/group/comp....5b4b21eb503bde

"
I understand.

Ok, thus Google is flexible in this.

[sidenote: some jobs _require_ a degree by law]

So, I like Google again (in this context).
"

..

--
http://lazaridis.com
Jan 7 '06 #65
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
However I still maintain that I was never able to meet these fine
people you speak about and which you seem to know because the cost
involved (a few hundred euro to visit pycon for example) was too high
compared to my food budget.


Europython is cheap to attend, and has been held twice in Charleroi,
Belgium, for example -- if you're in the Netherlands, you could have
bycicled there, crashed with somebody (I've seen lots of impecunious
people offered hospitality that way), and not spent more on food than
you would by staying in the Netherlands. You'll have to invent some
better excuse, to explain why you chose not to attend it.
Alex
Jan 7 '06 #66
Alex Martelli wrote:
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
However I still maintain that I was never able to meet these fine
people you speak about and which you seem to know because the cost
involved (a few hundred euro to visit pycon for example) was too high
compared to my food budget.


Europython is cheap to attend, and has been held twice in Charleroi,
Belgium, for example -- if you're in the Netherlands, you could have
bycicled there, crashed with somebody (I've seen lots of impecunious
people offered hospitality that way), and not spent more on food than
you would by staying in the Netherlands. You'll have to invent some
better excuse, to explain why you chose not to attend it.


I already sent some reply via google, got a server error, resent, got a
confirmation that my message was posted, but it doesn't show up and also
there's no way to retrieve my message except fishing in the cache?

Yesterday I had a post not showing up (in another group) but today it
was there. This makes me feel insecure enough about whether or not my
replies come through via google to start using another provider. It's
not like I'm on a secret google no fly list no? (slightly paranoic)

Anyway, I'm not typing all that again. Maybe it will show up tomorrow.
The gist of it is that for me a few hundred euros is and was a *lot* of
money, and that this talk about 'cheap to attend' irritates me a lot.

Anton
Jan 8 '06 #67
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
Europython is cheap to attend, and has been held twice in Charleroi,
Belgium, for example -- if you're in the Netherlands, you could have
... The gist of it is that for me a few hundred euros is and was a *lot* of
money, and that this talk about 'cheap to attend' irritates me a lot.


I just don't understand, always assuming you're in the Netherlands, how
attending Europython in Belgium (as opposed to Pycon in the US) could
have cost hundreds of euros. Conference registration is free to
speakers, bicycling NL->BE not costly (many were driving from NL, so
bumming a ride was far from impossible either), many attendants arranged
to "crash" for free thanks to the hospitality of others, food costs in
Belgium aren't much different from those in NL.

I'm not saying a few hundred euros is 'cheap' -- it obviously isn't, if
your income is low to nonexistent; rather, I'm wondering where that
"hundreds" amount comes from. You originally mentioned only pycon
(where the need to fly to the US, for people living in Europe, can
obviously account for "hundreds of euros" already); Europython is
specifically held in Europe to be cheaper and more convenient to attend
for Europeans, and I've always met many people there who fell in the
"income low to nonexistent" bracket for one reason or another.
Alex
Jan 8 '06 #68

"Anton Vredegoor" <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
....
I already sent some reply via google, got a server error, resent, got a
confirmation that my message was posted, but it doesn't show up and also
there's no way to retrieve my message except fishing in the cache?

Yesterday I had a post not showing up (in another group) but today it
was there. This makes me feel insecure enough about whether or not my
replies come through via google to start using another provider. It's
not like I'm on a secret google no fly list no? (slightly paranoic)

....

Nearly every message I've posted to c.l.p. in the last week
or so from Google has been badly delayed (12-24 hours
or more) or has disappeared.

Google seems to be quite badly broken.
Or mayby there really is a c.l.p. no fly list. I noticed this
started happening right after GvR was hired. :-)

Jan 9 '06 #69
Alex Martelli wrote:
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
However I still maintain that I was never able to meet these fine
people you speak about and which you seem to know because the cost
involved (a few hundred euro to visit pycon for example) was too high
compared to my food budget.


Europython is cheap to attend, and has been held twice in Charleroi,
Belgium, for example -- if you're in the Netherlands, you could have
bycicled there, crashed with somebody (I've seen lots of impecunious
people offered hospitality that way), and not spent more on food than
you would by staying in the Netherlands. You'll have to invent some
better excuse, to explain why you chose not to attend it.


I looked it up: 160 euro (early registration). My food budget is about
16 euro a week now, maybe even less if I want to keep feeding myself a
bit longer, maybe in 2003 my reserves were a bit higher than now, but I
had not yet learned then to be without a regular income, so I was very
scared to become pennyless at that time.

I am perfectly used to sleeping at other peoples' places, for example I
was at many go (baduk) tournaments and if the prices and atmosphere
would be anything comparable to that I guarantee you that I would have
been present.

IIRC I got an offer from Laura Creighton at the time to borrow me the
money, so one could say it was a choice, although by that time the
price had gone up to 270 euro.

But frankly indeed, I just don't even like to participate to events
that claim to be open for all but don't even acknowledge that the
barriers are extremely high compared to some participants budgets. Your
hype about it being cheap has a very chilling effect on my enthousiasm,
it's the same way with pypy congresses, which I also would have liked
to attend (and this thing even seems to be sponsored by public EU
money). Probably I am still a *rich* person, on a global scale, because
I live in a place with free internet (from a public library).

You *do* realize that even posting to usenet is impossible (or at least
very hard) for a lot of people, including me for at least 6 months. I
had to find someone to invite me to gmail and also a way to access my
previous internet account, which I lost access to when they cut my
phone line, to recieve the mail that finally enabled me to post via
google. Nowadays it's probably possible to open a hotmail account and
get invited to gmail from there, so one can post to usenet.

Theoretically I have now yet another option to post (except via
google), but IMO it remains true that one needs at least one link to
corruption to be able to post to usenet.

Anton

'hey, and my laptop doesn't even have a cdrom, needs almost continous
electricity, it's keyboard is broken (but it works fine with external
keyboard), and it networks via a pcmcia card with a *cable* '

Jan 9 '06 #70
Alex Martelli wrote:
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
However I still maintain that I was never able to meet these fine
people you speak about and which you seem to know because the cost
involved (a few hundred euro to visit pycon for example) was too high
compared to my food budget.


Europython is cheap to attend, and has been held twice in Charleroi,
Belgium, for example -- if you're in the Netherlands, you could have
bycicled there, crashed with somebody (I've seen lots of impecunious
people offered hospitality that way), and not spent more on food than
you would by staying in the Netherlands. You'll have to invent some
better excuse, to explain why you chose not to attend it.


I looked it up: 160 euro (early registration). My food budget is about
16 euro a week now, maybe even less if I want to keep feeding myself a
bit longer, maybe in 2003 my reserves were a bit higher than now, but I
had not yet learned then to be without a regular income, so I was very
scared to become pennyless at that time.

I am perfectly used to sleeping at other peoples' places, for example I
was at many go (baduk) tournaments and if the prices and atmosphere
would be anything comparable to that I guarantee you that I would have
been present.

IIRC I got an offer from Laura Creighton at the time to borrow me the
money, so one could say it was a choice, although by that time the
price had gone up to 270 euro.

But frankly indeed, I just don't even like to participate to events
that claim to be open for all but don't even acknowledge that the
barriers are extremely high compared to some participants budgets. Your
hype about it being cheap has a very chilling effect on my enthousiasm,
it's the same way with pypy congresses, which I also would have liked
to attend (and this thing even seems to be sponsored by public EU
money). Probably I am still a *rich* person, on a global scale, because
I live in a place with free internet (from a public library).

You *do* realize that even posting to usenet is impossible (or at least
very hard) for a lot of people, including me for at least 6 months. I
had to find someone to invite me to gmail and also a way to access my
previous internet account, which I lost access to when they cut my
phone line, to recieve the mail that finally enabled me to post via
google. Nowadays it's probably possible to open a hotmail account and
get invited to gmail from there, so one can post to usenet.

Theoretically I have now yet another option to post (except via
google), but IMO it remains true that one needs at least one link to
corruption to be able to post to usenet.

Anton

'hey, and my laptop doesn't even have a cdrom, needs almost continous
electricity, it's keyboard is broken (but it works fine with external
keyboard), and it networks via a pcmcia card with a *cable* '

Jan 9 '06 #71
Alex Martelli wrote:
I just don't understand, always assuming you're in the Netherlands, how
attending Europython in Belgium (as opposed to Pycon in the US) could
have cost hundreds of euros. Conference registration is free to
speakers, bicycling NL->BE not costly (many were driving from NL, so
bumming a ride was far from impossible either), many attendants arranged
to "crash" for free thanks to the hospitality of others, food costs in
Belgium aren't much different from those in NL.
Ah, I see. You're approaching this from a 'speaker' scenario. You
already have a lot of contacts, know where you can sleep, where to eat
and so on.
I'm not saying a few hundred euros is 'cheap' -- it obviously isn't, if
your income is low to nonexistent; rather, I'm wondering where that
"hundreds" amount comes from. You originally mentioned only pycon
(where the need to fly to the US, for people living in Europe, can
obviously account for "hundreds of euros" already); Europython is
specifically held in Europe to be cheaper and more convenient to attend
for Europeans, and I've always met many people there who fell in the
"income low to nonexistent" bracket for one reason or another.


Now going back to my claim that elitism is bad, I think you are the
perfect proof of my point. You live in luxurious (with respect to
community, education and financial aspects of being a computer scientist
or programmer) conditions and can just not understand why some people
have problems entering that same environment and privileged conditions
as yourself. This attitude is very common and needs only some kind
Blair-alike kind of selfhypnosis in order to effectively not being aware
of lying.

What is shunned is any form selfanalysis, because it would immediately
reveal that you yourself are violently keeping all these people out of
opportunities (the backstabbing), in your case for example by requesting
certain degrees, without realizing that what you are selecting for is
not what you think it is. It is selection for socialization and
belonging to some kind of social group, not any mental ability really,
not even the likeliness of being able to grasp Haskell which you somehow
seem to link to having a mathematical education.

Seriously, this is just a fraction of a unit above craniometry and you
would be wiser if you dropped this attitude.

Anton
Jan 9 '06 #72
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
I looked it up: 160 euro (early registration). My food budget is about
_Free for conference staff_: i.e., you could choose to contribute either
by volunteering your work to help organize and run the conference, or by
paying. This is a reasonably common arrangement at community-run
conferences. Other conferences, such as Euro Oscon 2005 in Amsterdam,
which was professionally run, are free for _speakers_.
But frankly indeed, I just don't even like to participate to events
that claim to be open for all but don't even acknowledge that the
barriers are extremely high compared to some participants budgets. Your
The secret is to get involved early, and actively contribute your time
and energy and skills; then, your budget will not be affected.
hype about it being cheap has a very chilling effect on my enthousiasm,
If you have enthusiasm, show it actively, by giving positive
contributions in organizing and running the conference, or, depending on
the conference, by speaking at it. THIS makes it cheap.

Some conferences may have a little budget (put together by pooling the
contributions of those who choose to pay to attend, minus venue costs)
for "special invitees", that may attend for free, in order to allow
participation to a few who were unable to actively contribute as
organizing staff, and couldn't make it otherwise; in some cases this may
extend to contributing to travel expenses. Such budget is always very
limited, so just a few people may be helped this way, but if you're
active in the community, even if unable to actually help as staff, it's
worth applying (early on, and together with an offer to help to whatever
limited extent you may despite geography, of course).
it's the same way with pypy congresses, which I also would have liked
I know of no such things as pypy "congresses". There are pypy
*sprints*, and there is no cost to register for them -- all you have to
do is show up and work (coding, documenting, etc).
to attend (and this thing even seems to be sponsored by public EU
money).
50%, yes (the other 50% must come from private contributions, that's a
EU rule for research projects). It used to be thought that some of the
EU money could be used to help pay for sprint participants' travel
expenses, but apparently something has gone wrong on that score
(probably some EU administrative requirement) -- I didn't ever see any
of the travel-expense-help money that was promised to me on one
occasion, so I had to swallow that cost myself.

However, pypy sprints have been held, for example, in Amsterdam, so for
a NL resident travel costs (and there never were any other) should have
been truly minute.
google), but IMO it remains true that one needs at least one link to
corruption to be able to post to usenet.


If you define every academic center and every private firm as
"corruption", yep -- Usenet is typically accessed through those.
Alex
Jan 9 '06 #73
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
Ah, I see. You're approaching this from a 'speaker' scenario. You
already have a lot of contacts, know where you can sleep, where to eat
I am active in the community, and have long been, trying to help out to
the best of my abilities. Should I travel to some place X "on a
shoestring", while I wouldn't necessarily know _beforehand_ where to
sleep or eat, I would be able to ask around and see if anyone can offer
me a place to sleep (and maybe some food), just as I've offered them in
the past to friends visiting me in similar conditions.

This is the way communities _work_: you always offer help, as much as
you can, and you may (if you ever need it) get some help in return.

Now going back to my claim that elitism is bad, I think you are the
perfect proof of my point. You live in luxurious (with respect to
community, education and financial aspects of being a computer scientist
or programmer) conditions and can just not understand why some people
have problems entering that same environment and privileged conditions
as yourself.
I currently live in excellent ways, yes, but have no problem at all
understanding why some (indeed many) people, at least at some times in
their lives, do not -- the reasons are many and varied, but I have known
and often befriended huge numbers of people in "down and out"
situations, and in a few cases been able to help them back up. People
who attempt to *guilt-trip* me into helping have never been and will
never been in that lot: in this way, I'm definitely not a typical, guilt
driven "bleeding heart". I try to help people who are trying to help
themselves, and the kind of mixed whining and attacks which you are
producing is a great example of the very opposite: you don't want help
getting up, you want to drag others down. That's a game I don't play.
This attitude is very common and needs only some kind
Blair-alike kind of selfhypnosis in order to effectively not being aware
of lying.

What is shunned is any form selfanalysis, because it would immediately
reveal that you yourself are violently keeping all these people out of
opportunities (the backstabbing), in your case for example by requesting
certain degrees, without realizing that what you are selecting for is
not what you think it is.
I am perfectly aware of what university degrees mean and don't mean: in
a situation of asymmetric information, they're signals (ones somewhat
hard to fake) about how much somebody believes in themselves and are
willing to invest in themselves. The literature is quite vast and
exhaustive on this analysis, and I'm reasonably well-read in it, even
though it's not my professional field.

The mental jump from this to "violently" and "backstabbing" singles you
out as a particularly weird lunatic, of course. But it's not quite as
laughable as your unsupported assumption about "lack of self-analysis",
resting only on your erroneous premise that "it would immediately
reveal" these absurdities. The unexamined life is not worth living, and
I do examine mine, but what the examination reveals has absolutely
nothing to do with what you baldly assert it would.
It is selection for socialization and
belonging to some kind of social group, not any mental ability really,
Both: there are people who belong and are socialized but just lack the
mental ability (including sticktoitiveness and stamina) to stay the
course, and others who, despite coming from the most disadvantaged
backgrounds, still make it all the way through, bases on sheer ability
and determination. Adding the "or equivalent", and "or equivalent
experience", clauses, as present in many of our job offers, tries to
widen the catchment area to at least some people who didn't make it but
can still demonstrate they have the "mental abilities" in question.
not even the likeliness of being able to grasp Haskell which you somehow
seem to link to having a mathematical education.
My working hypothesis in the matter is that there is a mindset, a kind
or way of thinking, which helps with both grasping FP languages AND
grasping abstract mathematical disciplines.
Seriously, this is just a fraction of a unit above craniometry and you
would be wiser if you dropped this attitude.


And hired hundreds of thousands of people a year (that's about the
number of resumes we get now, WITH the current job offers) without
selection? Sure, that would definitely ensure wisdom. Yeah, right.

You're so pathetic you aren't even funny.
Alex
Jan 9 '06 #74
Anton Vredegoor wrote:
Now going back to my claim that elitism is bad, I think you are the
perfect proof of my point. You live in luxurious (with respect to
community, education and financial aspects of being a computer scientist
or programmer) conditions and can just not understand why some people
have problems entering that same environment and privileged conditions
as yourself. This attitude is very common and needs only some kind
Blair-alike kind of selfhypnosis in order to effectively not being aware
of lying.


Tony Blair, or the Blair Witch project?

--
Hans Nowak
http://zephyrfalcon.org/
Jan 9 '06 #75
Anton Vredegoor wrote:
Alex Martelli wrote:

I just don't understand, always assuming you're in the Netherlands, how
attending Europython in Belgium (as opposed to Pycon in the US) could
have cost hundreds of euros. Conference registration is free to
speakers, bicycling NL->BE not costly (many were driving from NL, so
bumming a ride was far from impossible either), many attendants arranged
to "crash" for free thanks to the hospitality of others, food costs in
Belgium aren't much different from those in NL.

Ah, I see. You're approaching this from a 'speaker' scenario. You
already have a lot of contacts, know where you can sleep, where to eat
and so on.

If you can't afford to go to conferences, don't bitch about it if you
are (as you apparently claim to be) impecunious by choice.

I personally expended a lot of effort to reduce the costs of US
conference attendance by converting the International Python Conferences
(expensive, "professionally" organised) into PyCon (cheap and cheerful,
community-oriented). It's my understanding that EuroPython is even more
community-oriented than PyCon.

Maybe you just weren't prepared to *ask* about how to attend cheaply?
I'm not saying a few hundred euros is 'cheap' -- it obviously isn't, if
your income is low to nonexistent; rather, I'm wondering where that
"hundreds" amount comes from. You originally mentioned only pycon
(where the need to fly to the US, for people living in Europe, can
obviously account for "hundreds of euros" already); Europython is
specifically held in Europe to be cheaper and more convenient to attend
for Europeans, and I've always met many people there who fell in the
"income low to nonexistent" bracket for one reason or another.

Now going back to my claim that elitism is bad, I think you are the
perfect proof of my point. You live in luxurious (with respect to
community, education and financial aspects of being a computer scientist
or programmer) conditions and can just not understand why some people
have problems entering that same environment and privileged conditions
as yourself. This attitude is very common and needs only some kind
Blair-alike kind of selfhypnosis in order to effectively not being aware
of lying.

On the available evidence that seems completely untrue. Alex, as I know
from personal experience, has no problems accepting the material rewards
of a lifetime spent developing expertise, but that doesn't make him
elitist. I have seen him helping Python programmers without any monetary
reward (and he got precious little for all the time he spent as a
technical editor of "Python Web Programming"), and I know him to be
quite far from elitist.
What is shunned is any form selfanalysis, because it would immediately
reveal that you yourself are violently keeping all these people out of
opportunities (the backstabbing), in your case for example by requesting
certain degrees, without realizing that what you are selecting for is
not what you think it is. It is selection for socialization and
belonging to some kind of social group, not any mental ability really,
not even the likeliness of being able to grasp Haskell which you somehow
seem to link to having a mathematical education.
Are there *any* mirrors in your life?
Seriously, this is just a fraction of a unit above craniometry and you
would be wiser if you dropped this attitude.

I think the chip on your shoulder is forcing you to stand crooked.

How sad the world isn't organised the way *you* think it should be. Of
course this naturally means the world needs changing, not you ... or are
you just "linear combinations of social peer pressure vectors"?

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 10 '06 #76
Anton Vredegoor wrote:
[...]
But frankly indeed, I just don't even like to participate to events
that claim to be open for all but don't even acknowledge that the
barriers are extremely high compared to some participants budgets. Your
hype about it being cheap has a very chilling effect on my enthousiasm,
it's the same way with pypy congresses, which I also would have liked
to attend (and this thing even seems to be sponsored by public EU
money). Probably I am still a *rich* person, on a global scale, because
I live in a place with free internet (from a public library).
[...]
Well, if you can organise conferences that have lower costs of
attendance might I suggest you go ahead and do so? Personally I found
that venues were remarkably unhelpful in wanting to be rewarded for
their donations of facilities.

I'm not saying that conferences *can't* be organised more cheaply than
PyCon and EuroPython, just that to do so would take a considerable extra
level of effort that those of us who have compromised to the extent of
wanting to earn a living just can't give up enough time to manage.

So get off your soapbox and do something.

'hey, and my laptop doesn't even have a cdrom, needs almost continous
electricity, it's keyboard is broken (but it works fine with external
keyboard), and it networks via a pcmcia card with a *cable* '


What do you want, a medal? You've made life choices, which is fine. Just
don't moan about the inevitable and predictable consequences of those
choices. Instead enjoy that advantages (like you don't have to spend
weeks at a time away from home working for clients or teaching classes,
for example). Everything has its compensations. If you *could* bring
down the cost of computer conferences the world would be forever grateful.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 10 '06 #77
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.com> wrote:
...
On the available evidence that seems completely untrue. Alex, as I know
from personal experience, has no problems accepting the material rewards
of a lifetime spent developing expertise, but that doesn't make him
elitist.
I guess what DOES make me an elitist is that I'm perfectly happy to see
greater material rewards go to those who have greater skills or are more
inclined to exert constructive effort. NOT to the skewed extent one
observes in some countries -- I think countries such as Denmark, Japan,
Sweden, and Belgium, with Gini indices of 25 or less, strike a better
balance than ones such as the UK or Italy, with 36, not to mention the
US's 40 or Brazil's 60 (particularly because it's far from certain, in
high-Gini-index countries, that the "greater material rewards" are
actually mostly flowing to the elite who I think _deserves_ them, the
people who work hard and successfully and thus contribute to everybody's
benefit, as opposed to, people whose only substantial "contribution" has
been to get born in the right family). But, that's another issue.
I have seen him helping Python programmers without any monetary
reward (and he got precious little for all the time he spent as a
technical editor of "Python Web Programming"),
Actually, I got the enormous pleasure of enjoying your work, and of
helping you (and helping friends is always a joy!) AND the whole
programming community (by helping you enhance a book that was already
good to start with). _Material_ rewards are not the only ones that
matter, not by a great deal!
and I know him to be quite far from elitist.


I guess you and I have in mind different meanings for the word
"elitist", because, as above outlined, I do consider myself one. Even
though I believe in the "wisdom of crowds", I'm definitely anything but
a *populist* -- the "wise crowd", as I see it, is one where each
individual makes up his or her own mind on their own criteria, all
different but all compatible with rationality, as opposed to "following
the herd" or "fashion".
Alex
Jan 10 '06 #78
Hi Alex,

On Mon, 9 Jan 2006, Alex Martelli wrote:
50%, yes (the other 50% must come from private contributions, that's a
EU rule for research projects). It used to be thought that some of the
EU money could be used to help pay for sprint participants' travel
expenses, but apparently something has gone wrong on that score
(probably some EU administrative requirement) -- I didn't ever see any
of the travel-expense-help money that was promised to me on one
occasion, so I had to swallow that cost myself.


This is not the whole truth. We have some procedure now for funding
travel costs, although it's admittedly very bureaucratic :-(

Anyway, independently of this, there are some people we are happy to see
come back again and again to PyPy sprints even though we know their budget
is extremely limited. We have always arranged things for them to minimize
the costs. It's nothing like a "congress" where you have to pay XXX/day
for having water and cake brought to the tables by the staff at 10am. I
can certainly say that attending a PyPy sprint is not expensive at all;
I'd expect the major problem to be rather to find a week's free time for
it.

On the bureaucratic side: Alex, we *have* a procedure at this point, and
we have been trying to contact you several time in the past months -- with
no success as far as I know, so I'll try via comp.lang.python this time
:-) If you still feel like seeing your money back in exchange for some
papers to fill and sign, please show up...
A bientot,

Armin
Jan 10 '06 #79
Hi Alex,

On Mon, 9 Jan 2006, Alex Martelli wrote:
50%, yes (the other 50% must come from private contributions, that's a
EU rule for research projects). It used to be thought that some of the
EU money could be used to help pay for sprint participants' travel
expenses, but apparently something has gone wrong on that score
(probably some EU administrative requirement) -- I didn't ever see any
of the travel-expense-help money that was promised to me on one
occasion, so I had to swallow that cost myself.


This is not the whole truth. We have some procedure now for funding
travel costs, although it's admittedly very bureaucratic :-(

Anyway, independently of this, there are some people we are happy to see
come back again and again to PyPy sprints even though we know their budget
is extremely limited. We have always arranged things for them to minimize
the costs. It's nothing like a "congress" where you have to pay XXX/day
for having water and cake brought to the tables by the staff at 10am. I
can certainly say that attending a PyPy sprint is not expensive at all;
I'd expect the major problem to be rather to find a week's free time for
it.

On the bureaucratic side: Alex, we *have* a procedure at this point, and
we have been trying to contact you several time in the past months -- with
no success as far as I know, so I'll try via comp.lang.python this time
:-) If you still feel like seeing your money back in exchange for some
papers to fill and sign, please show up...
A bientot,

Armin
Jan 10 '06 #80
Armin Rigo wrote:
We have some procedure now for funding
travel costs, although it's admittedly very bureaucratic :-(
Since next sprint is in Palma de Mallorca I trust I can count on PyPy
to refund me the money?
Anyway, independently of this, there are some people we are happy to see
come back again and again to PyPy sprints even though we know their budget
is extremely limited. We have always arranged things for them to minimize
the costs. It's nothing like a "congress" where you have to pay XXX/day
for having water and cake brought to the tables by the staff at 10am. I
can certainly say that attending a PyPy sprint is not expensive at all;
I'd expect the major problem to be rather to find a week's free time for
it.
There seems to have been a relatively inexpensive sprint in Heidelberg.
So yes sometimes PyPy sprints can be inexpensive. But the associated
costs if one has to rent a room in a hotel would still make it
impossible for me to attend. What prompted me to cluster PyPy sprints
with the expensive stuff was this sprint:

http://www.trillke.net/images/HomePagePictureSmall.jpg

Although I can't find pricing info now, I believe that at the time I
considered the costs involved with the rent of the meeting place
exorbitant.
On the bureaucratic side: Alex, we *have* a procedure at this point, and
we have been trying to contact you several time in the past months -- with
no success as far as I know, so I'll try via comp.lang.python this time
:-) If you still feel like seeing your money back in exchange for some
papers to fill and sign, please show up...


Maybe Mr Martelli will ease his conscience (it's hard to see how it
would not bother him to refuse to pick up checks while his opponents
barely have enough to feed themselves) by donating the money to me, so
that I might increase my efforts to squelch any remaining trace of
elitism at google.

Anton

"I'd even look into PyPy sprint options at Maastricht, so you'd get
extra value for your money"

Jan 10 '06 #81
Alex Martelli wrote:
situations, and in a few cases been able to help them back up. People
who attempt to *guilt-trip* me into helping have never been and will
never been in that lot: in this way, I'm definitely not a typical, guilt
driven "bleeding heart". I try to help people who are trying to help
themselves, and the kind of mixed whining and attacks which you are
producing is a great example of the very opposite: you don't want help
getting up, you want to drag others down. That's a game I don't play.
You got that all wrong. I am trying to save google (and our precious
Python personel there) from vanishing into oblivion because they would
be unfit for the future because of their elitist selection procedures.
Yes, refusing to give in to corruption has cost me a lot, but it has
also cleared my mind.

You are not my superior (or even considered to be more succesfull) as
you seem to imply. Rather you are suffering from delusions of
grandiosity and from unfounded assumptions of connections between
programming abilities and academic educations. I am merely giving my
point of view to the community. If that bothers you that is *your*
problem.

I would understand if you would settle matters rather by arguments than
just waiting for me to run out of food. You might even make a small
donation to prove your good intentions, but it shouldn't influence the
discussion in the way of argumentation.
I am perfectly aware of what university degrees mean and don't mean: in
a situation of asymmetric information, they're signals (ones somewhat
hard to fake) about how much somebody believes in themselves and are
willing to invest in themselves. The literature is quite vast and
exhaustive on this analysis, and I'm reasonably well-read in it, even
though it's not my professional field.
The problem is that universities now have very strong competition in
the form of internet, where noone bothers with trying to keep
university title structures intact. Since that always was more than 95
percent of the universities' effort (as I claimed before, but noone has
given arguments against, and in fact some agreed implicitly) one can
understand that this competition is fierce. If we want Google to
survive in the noosphere it *has* to lose this attitude problem, be it
the hard way or out of its own reflection.
The mental jump from this to "violently" and "backstabbing" singles you
out as a particularly weird lunatic, of course. But it's not quite as
laughable as your unsupported assumption about "lack of self-analysis",
resting only on your erroneous premise that "it would immediately
reveal" these absurdities. The unexamined life is not worth living, and
I do examine mine, but what the examination reveals has absolutely
nothing to do with what you baldly assert it would.


Since your elitist selection process has you at the top, you don't even
have the slightest chance of coming around as a reasonable person,
unless you would explicitly consider the idea that you could be wrong
and degrees *are* BS.
It is selection for socialization and
belonging to some kind of social group, not any mental ability really,


Both: there are people who belong and are socialized but just lack the
mental ability (including sticktoitiveness and stamina) to stay the
course, and others who, despite coming from the most disadvantaged
backgrounds, still make it all the way through, bases on sheer ability
and determination. Adding the "or equivalent", and "or equivalent
experience", clauses, as present in many of our job offers, tries to
widen the catchment area to at least some people who didn't make it but
can still demonstrate they have the "mental abilities" in question.


Can't you see that you have the guards guarding the guards here?
not even the likeliness of being able to grasp Haskell which you somehow
seem to link to having a mathematical education.


My working hypothesis in the matter is that there is a mindset, a kind
or way of thinking, which helps with both grasping FP languages AND
grasping abstract mathematical disciplines.


I guess it would seriously hurt you if programming abilities would be
linked to your other forte, the (considered as soft alpha scientific)
linguistic abilities.
Seriously, this is just a fraction of a unit above craniometry and you
would be wiser if you dropped this attitude.


And hired hundreds of thousands of people a year (that's about the
number of resumes we get now, WITH the current job offers) without
selection? Sure, that would definitely ensure wisdom. Yeah, right.

You're so pathetic you aren't even funny.


Wait till I remove all hashing code from dictionaries. Sometimes giving
up speed in the short term, results in speeding up the process as a
whole because it becomes possible to use intermediary results more
effectively. I have seen groups of mathematicians splitting up and each
going into their own room and after each had solved their own
interpretation of their piece of the problem, the resulting code was
not even using the same dataformats.

Sometimes adding an attractive female to a group of young male coders
will slow down the developments while it wouldn't matter in a team of
female coders. One has to consider the *complete* system, which is
another fault in your monocultural elitist selection process. Sometimes
adding a very strange element to a team can prevent it from being a
'linear combination of social peer pressure vectors'. Face your fears.

Anton

Jan 10 '06 #82
Anton Vredegoor wrote:
[stuuf]

'excuse me if I sound a bit bitter and as if suffering from a sense of
untitlement'

Consider yourself excused. Now stop whining and go do the things you *can*.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 10 '06 #83
Ilias Lazaridis wrote:
[...]
[...]

-

TAG.google.evolution.talent.detection

TAG.who.gives.a.rats.ass
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 10 '06 #84
Hi!

Anton Vredegoor wrote:
Armin Rigo wrote:

We have some procedure now for funding
travel costs, although it's admittedly very bureaucratic :-(

Since next sprint is in Palma de Mallorca I trust I can count on PyPy
to refund me the money?


If you want to attend the sprint you should contact the mailing list
py*********@codespeak.net. For more contact possibilities see

http://codespeak.net/pypy/dist/pypy/doc/contact.html
Anyway, independently of this, there are some people we are happy to see
come back again and again to PyPy sprints even though we know their budget
is extremely limited. We have always arranged things for them to minimize
the costs. It's nothing like a "congress" where you have to pay XXX/day
for having water and cake brought to the tables by the staff at 10am. I
can certainly say that attending a PyPy sprint is not expensive at all;
I'd expect the major problem to be rather to find a week's free time for
it.

There seems to have been a relatively inexpensive sprint in Heidelberg.
So yes sometimes PyPy sprints can be inexpensive. But the associated
costs if one has to rent a room in a hotel would still make it
impossible for me to attend.


The trick again was to talk to people: I organized the sprint there and
found some _very_ inexpensive rooms for several people, so it could have
worked if you had asked.
What prompted me to cluster PyPy sprints
with the expensive stuff was this sprint:

http://www.trillke.net/images/HomePagePictureSmall.jpg

Although I can't find pricing info now, I believe that at the time I
considered the costs involved with the rent of the meeting place
exorbitant.
Hehe. You could not have been farther from the truth. This is the house
where Holger Krekel (one of the founders of the PyPy project) lives in,
together with roughly fifty other people. Accomodation in there was free.

[snip] "I'd even look into PyPy sprint options at Maastricht, so you'd get
extra value for your money"


We are always looking for places to do sprints, so if you know any venue
where holding such an event is possible we would be glad if you
contacted us. Organizing a sprint in your home town is always a
possibility to have free accomodation at a sprint :-).

Cheers,

Carl Friedrich Bolz

Jan 10 '06 #85
TAG.how.come.this.thread.generates.kooks.faster.th an.I.can.plonk.them.questionmark

Jan 11 '06 #86
Fredrik Lundh wrote:
TAG.how.come.this.thread.generates.kooks.faster.th an.I.can.plonk.them.questionmark

TAG.did.you.just.call.me.a.kook.questionmark
TAG.above.tag.not.actually.valid
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 11 '06 #87
> TAG.did.you.just.call.me.a.kook.questionmark

TAG.no.dash.but.if.you.keep.replying.to.them.all.t he.time.i.may.have.to.plonk.you.too.smiley

Jan 11 '06 #88
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
On the bureaucratic side: Alex, we *have* a procedure at this point, and
we have been trying to contact you several time in the past months -- with
no success as far as I know, so I'll try via comp.lang.python this time
:-) If you still feel like seeing your money back in exchange for some
papers to fill and sign, please show up...


Maybe Mr Martelli will ease his conscience (it's hard to see how it
would not bother him to refuse to pick up checks while his opponents
barely have enough to feed themselves) by donating the money to me, so
that I might increase my efforts to squelch any remaining trace of
elitism at google.


Don't hold your breath -- I can think of at least a thousand worthy
charities (not to even mention individuals) I'd donate to, before giving
you one eurocent, if I had money burning holes in my pockets. The evil,
perverted way in which you distort pypy's inexplicable difficulties in
contacting me (when I've exchanged mails on a different subject, less
than a month ago, with the CEO of one of the consortium's companies)
into me "refusing to pick up checks", would be funny if it weren't just
too pathetic.
Alex
Jan 11 '06 #89
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
You are not my superior (or even considered to be more succesfull) as
you seem to imply.
Depends on who does the considering, I'm sure. If the considerer loves
the English language, for example, a horrible mis-spelling such as
"successfull" with two final L's would count for a lot in their judgment
(English is neither your native language nor mine, so it's not unfair to
either of us to consider it...;-).
I am merely giving my
point of view to the community. If that bothers you that is *your*
problem.
You said that Google only hires people with "long histories of
backstabbing", thus directly insulting everybody who's ever been hired
by Google (among others). If your spewing such hateful and baseless
insults bothers those who read them, it's not JUST the readers' problem:
it directly reflects on your base, spiteful, and hateful behavior.
I would understand if you would settle matters rather by arguments than
just waiting for me to run out of food. You might even make a small
donation to prove your good intentions, but it shouldn't influence the
discussion in the way of argumentation.
My intentions in YOUR regard, given the above-mentioned insult, are
anything BUT good: on the contrary, I consider you a particularly
disgusting vermin, and should it ever be in my power to make you pay for
it without unduly inconveniencing myself (which is, of course, quite
unlikely), I might well do so.

I am perfectly aware of what university degrees mean and don't mean: in
a situation of asymmetric information, they're signals (ones somewhat
hard to fake) about how much somebody believes in themselves and are
willing to invest in themselves. The literature is quite vast and
exhaustive on this analysis, and I'm reasonably well-read in it, even
though it's not my professional field.


The problem is that universities now have very strong competition in
the form of internet, where noone bothers with trying to keep
university title structures intact. Since that always was more than 95
percent of the universities' effort (as I claimed before, but noone has
given arguments against, and in fact some agreed implicitly) one can
understand that this competition is fierce. If we want Google to
survive in the noosphere it *has* to lose this attitude problem, be it
the hard way or out of its own reflection.


Giving outstanding contributions to open-source projects or others made
feasible by the internet is, of course, another "hard to fake signal" in
terms of asymmetric-information markets. And of course, Google will
happily accept resumes from such "stars of open source". For example,
Eric Raymond has no university degree, but, were he to apply for a job
at Google, rest assured that his resume would be happily considered,
under the "or equivalent" clause of many of our job offers. Of course,
Eric is "outstanding among the outstanding", but similar considerations
may apply to many lesser stars in the open-source firmament.

Since your elitist selection process has you at the top,
Nope -- that's Eric Shmidt (or, from a slightly different POV, Larry and
Sergey).
you don't even
have the slightest chance of coming around as a reasonable person,
Obviously not to *you* -- and considering the quality of your
"reasoning", I think that's quite a compliment to me.
unless you would explicitly consider the idea that you could be wrong
and degrees *are* BS.
I repeat: they're (among other things) "hard to fake signals" in an
asymmetric information market. Your local library no doubt has (or can
get by inter-library loan) Akerlof's "An economist theorist's book of
tales": get it and study up on the essay "The market for lemons", which
was worth to Akerlof a well-deserved Nobel Memorial Prize. Until you
understand the basics of asymmetric-information markets, it's not worth
discussing to what extent degrees interact with such markets.
Can't you see that you have the guards guarding the guards here?
Are you objecting to the fact that a firm's existing employees have the
task of selecting future employees of the same firm? Who else do you
suggest for the purpose -- astrologers?
not even the likeliness of being able to grasp Haskell which you somehow
seem to link to having a mathematical education.


My working hypothesis in the matter is that there is a mindset, a kind
or way of thinking, which helps with both grasping FP languages AND
grasping abstract mathematical disciplines.


I guess it would seriously hurt you if programming abilities would be
linked to your other forte, the (considered as soft alpha scientific)
linguistic abilities.


Programming *in general* may well be linked to linguistic abilities,
although I'd really love somebody to explain to me why MOST excellent
programmers hate writing docs and aren't good at it. Programming _in FP
languages_ appears to be favored by a somewhat different mindset than
programming in procedural and OO languages, and I observe empirically
that the former is more often linked to a grasp of abstract maths.

Not sure what you mean by "my _other_ forte" -- though I like many forms
of maths, I have no degree in maths or CS -- my degree was in Electronic
Engineering. I'm definitely not in the upper centile among Googlers in
either abstract maths or functional programming, though I may be in the
specific field of (applied) "linguistic abilities".

Sometimes adding an attractive female to a group of young male coders
will slow down the developments while it wouldn't matter in a team of
female coders. One has to consider the *complete* system, which is
another fault in your monocultural elitist selection process. Sometimes
I think diversity along many axes may enhance a team's prowess, at least
when proper management guidance helps steer the whole through its
never-denied nonlinearities. And anybody with the least knowledge of
Google would find "monocultural" the last word coming to mind to
characterize it. But some aspects, which include both an appreciation
for diversity AND outstanding individual abilities, are indispensable to
make the whole mix work. So we strive for diversity, but NOT by
including individuals whose abilties aren't outstanding, nor ones who
cannot thrive in an extremely diverse environment.
adding a very strange element to a team can prevent it from being a
'linear combination of social peer pressure vectors'. Face your fears.


Anything but linear. But that's not a FEAR of mine -- I would call it a
HOPE, were it not for the fact that I see it concretely happening every
day at work: teams that produce more value than the sum of their parts
would, with mutual respect and amity growing among people from the
wildest and most diverse mix of backgrounds and personalities.
Alex
Jan 11 '06 #90
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
On Tue, 03 Jan 2006 08:27:39 -0800, Alex Martelli wrote:

Or some even more stringent qualification, such as the state's Bar exam
for lawyers -- you may not be able to sit for that exam w/o the
appropriate degree, but the degree by itself is not enough, you still
have to pass the exam. It is that way for Engineers in Italy (I passed
my State Exam in the early '80s), although you only need the certificate
for some specific professional undertakings (e.g. design a ship, or a
large building, or technically supervise building operations beyond a
certain size -- not to write software or to design chips).

Personally, I agree with the theory, first expressed by Adam Smith, that
such barriers to entry are mostly useful to grant practitioners of a
certain profession the "scarcity value" that lets them charge higher
prices, although of course they're always presented as "good for
society". Note that in Europe in the Middle Ages you needed strict
qualifications of that kind for just about anything -- you could not
make hats unless you belonged to the Hatters' Guild, etc; most of those
restrictions have since been lifted, but a few groups (doctors, lawyers,
accountants, ...) have managed to keep them in place.

Let's not confuse the medieval guild system with today's system. Guilds
were more like clubs than professional bodies: it was who you knew, rather
than what you knew, that decided whether you got in. You were forbidden
from becoming (say) a hat maker unless the other hat makers allowed you to
join the guild. There was no independent, or even semi-independent, body
who decided what qualifications were needed to make hats. It was all about
who you knew -- if your uncle's best friend was a hat maker, you could be
apprenticed to a hat maker and join the guild, otherwise there was no exam
to sit that got you in, no matter how talented you were.

I believe you are overlooking the fact that you had to serve an
apprenticeship that only ended when you ether produced work of master
craftsman quality or decided you would be better employed elsewhere.
This isn't to refute the truth of Smith's assertion that the guilds
controlled scarcity, giving them some control over price. But today's
world, the world of "polite incompetence" (a phrase used about Virginia
society by a dear neighbour in the USA) where few can perform the jobs
they are paid to, but everything is cheap.
This system combined the worst of all outcomes: you got artificial
scarcity with the monopoly pricing that leads to, *plus* it failed to
enforce or even encourage minimum standards of skill and strategy.
Wrong [see above]. I don't remember many mediaeval cathedrals falling
down, but the Tacoma Narrows bridge was a practical lesson in
engineering. So what's your real point?
By contrast, today's professional bodies like law, medicine etc. have
independent standards of skill that must be met. I don't wish to deny
that knowing the right people can help smooth the procedure of becoming
a doctor, lawyer, etc., but failing to have an uncle who is a lawyer is no
barrier to becoming a lawyer, provided you can pass the bar exam. That is
very different from the guild system.
Well, one might equally argue that becoming a master mason in the past
required you to produce master masonic work. Since professions and
crafts are somewhat different, however, it's unlikely to be fruitful to
attempt to draw direct comparisons. Maybe having an uncle helped you in
to the trade, but it didn't cut you much slack in terms of required
standards, hence the absence of cathedral-shaped heaps of rubble. York
Minster was built in the 1400s, for example, and doesn't look like
falling down any time soon.

I can't think of many modern American houses likely to survive more than
a century. They are built to a price, not a quality. The situation is
rather different in some other countries, where natural resources have
been depleted for longer and are correspondingly more valued.
In general, professional bodies like engineers, doctors, etc. do a
reasonable job of enforcing minimum standards of skill and quality.
Certainly there are a lot fewer building collapses in countries that
enforce building standards than countries that allow the free market to
decide.
The major problem with professional bodies is precisely their lack of
insistence on a practical demonstration of capability. "Paper MCSEs",
for example, frequently make bad Windows system administrators because
their education has been geared to the acquisition not of practical
skills but of the qualification itself. The medical profession acquits
itself reasonably because it does still require a good amount of
doctoring before qualification. Why are the lawyer jokes not doctor jokes?
Free market radicals like to sneer at "for the good of society" arguments,
but the problem with their reasoning is that they only consider the
monetary cost of hiring a professional, and not the other costs. Of course
anything that makes professionals scarce will increase the cost of hiring
that professional. But they fail to take into account the externalities
that come from increasing the numbers of under-qualified, shoddy
professionals.
Damn socialists, when will they stop insisting that profit isn't the
most practical measure of quality? :-)
The free market often works well for (say) enforcing minimum standards for
bread: anyone who can taste can recognise good bread from bad, and if you
buy bad bread from a baker today you simply will go to another baker
tomorrow. But dealing with accountants, lawyers, doctors etc. is very
different. Expert opinions are not like bread: only a fellow expert can
recognise good advice from bad advice. Most people buy bread at least once
a week, but might only get legal advice once or twice in their life. Under
these circumstances, Adam Smith's Invisible Hand is feeble indeed, and
shonky rip-off merchants and incompetents thrive, harming everyone.
Right. If I am wrongly executed for a murder I didn't commit it will be
a long time before I use the same lawyer in another case.

But there are other complexities you fail to consider. For example, Java
has been "puffed" as a desirable language for so long now (around ten
years) that even non-technical managers who shouldn't be allowed within
a mile of a language choice feel quite at liberty to say "all our
applications will be written in Java".

This has the even less pleasant effect that impressionable young people
entering the industry see "learning" Java as the way to make a living,
and can indeed make some sort of a living without ever having to
demonstrate competence as a programmer. Which accounts for the abysmally
poor quality of much Java code.
That's not to say that skilled experts can't make a living -- in an
economy filled with snake-oil medical practitioners, good experts who
get a good reputation can charge a high premium. People who find a
good doctor or lawyer will recommend him to their friends. This squeezes
out the middle: new, but skilled, experts get lost in the sea of shonkies,
but the tiny minority that manage to get a reputation will attract
near-monopoly pricing. That leads to a two-tier system where only the rich
and powerful can afford good experts, be they doctors, lawyers, engineers
or accountants, and everyone else either goes without or are forced into a
lottery where the vast majority of experts they can afford are incompetent.
Welcome to capitalism. Only six more major wars and everyone will be
doing it.
Another major difference between today's professional bodies and medieval
guilds is that the scarcity is not entirely (or even mostly) caused by
the professional body. It is the universities controlling prerequisite
degrees that gain more from the scarcity: within reason, the fewer places
they offer for (say) law degrees, the higher fees they can charge for
them. In my inexpert opinion, the cause of shortages of experts is more
the fault of the universities than of the professional bodies.

This unfortunately does not accord with the unseemly spectacle of the
universities rushing a "sell" their "product" to the "market", despite
the fact that few academics have ever had to make a living by selling
anything, let alone justifying the price of their products by providing
acceptable quality and a money-back guarantee.

As the degree mill becomes an industry the intake pyramid inevitably
broadens to include those of lower intellect, and unless the standard of
education (which should perhaps now really be called training since so
much of the academic world appears to be vocationally focussed) improves
radically the inevitable result is a decline in the practical abilities
of the graduates.

When *I* was an academic, teaching was regarded as a fundamentally
boring part of the role. That was one of the reasons I stopped being an
academic, since it was the most interesting part from my point of view.

I don't believe much has happened to change academic perceptions (i.e. I
suspect the average academic resume will emphasise research rather than
teaching success), but the surrounding system incessantly demands people
who can write mediocre software rather than genuine original thinkers,
so the universities become degree mills to earn the capitation fees to
fund the research they are supposed to be about.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Jan 11 '06 #91

"Steve Holden" <st***@holdenweb.com> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...
Wrong [see above]. I don't remember many mediaeval cathedrals falling down.


Your memory of medieval times has gone a bit hazy I expect; in truth,
some would fall down from time to time, particularly if the builders tried
something particularly ambitious. What are left are the good designs.
Jan 11 '06 #92
Alex Martelli wrote:
Anton Vredegoor <an*************@gmail.com> wrote:
...
You are not my superior (or even considered to be more succesfull) as
you seem to imply.


Depends on who does the considering, I'm sure. If the considerer loves
the English language, for example, a horrible mis-spelling such as
"successfull" with two final L's would count for a lot in their judgment
(English is neither your native language nor mine, so it's not unfair to
either of us to consider it...;-).


Well this sums it all up for me, about you. Making stupid claims to
superiority while comfortably sitting at a computer *with a
spellchecker* and denying me the same priviliges, not even by
correcting google's _usenet_ interface (while its mail interface
includes at least a minimally functional editor/spellchecker) to the
point where a comparison would be fair. Stop whining and being
insulted, your elitist selection policies have far more worldwrecking
consequences than a few artificially magnified and misunderstood
'insults'.

Anton

'you could always join the dutch unemployment inquisition'

Jan 11 '06 #93
On Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:13:01 +0000,
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.com> wrote:
attempt to draw direct comparisons. Maybe having an uncle helped you in
to the trade, but it didn't cut you much slack in terms of required
standards, hence the absence of cathedral-shaped heaps of rubble. York
Minster was built in the 1400s, for example, and doesn't look like
falling down any time soon.


Googling for "cathedral collapse" finds an interesting page at
<http://www.newcomen.com/excerpts/beauvais.htm>:

... As a matter of structural fact there is almost no argument
possible. The decay sensed by the eye after about 1250 stems
from a slow relaxation of the firm structural grasp that had
been acquired during the preceding hundred years.

...

Beauvais seems to have been particularly unfortunate. The apse
and choir were started in 1247, and finished in 1272. On 29
November 1284 the vault fell... Whatever the actual reason, it
was certainly believed at the time that the pier spacing was
too large, and the repairs over the next 50 years included the
intercalation of piers between these originally built for the
choir, so that the bays were halved from about 9m to about
4.5m. ...

--amk
Jan 11 '06 #94
Steve Holden wrote:
Consider yourself excused.


Thanks.

Anton

Jan 11 '06 #95
Fredrik Lundh wrote:
TAG.did.you.just.call.me.a.kook.questionmark

TAG.no.dash.but.if.you.keep.replying.to.them.all.t he.time.i.may.have.to.plonk.you.too.smiley


TAG.you're.it.exclamation.point.
Jan 11 '06 #96
Richard Brodie wrote:
Wrong [see above]. I don't remember many mediaeval cathedrals falling down.


Your memory of medieval times has gone a bit hazy I expect


probably because he was hit in the head by a falling stone during a trip to southern
france, many years ago.

</F>

Jan 11 '06 #97
In article <1h*************************@mail.comcast.net>,
Alex Martelli <al***@mail.comcast.net> wrote:

Giving outstanding contributions to open-source projects or others made
feasible by the internet is, of course, another "hard to fake signal"
in terms of asymmetric-information markets. And of course, Google will
happily accept resumes from such "stars of open source". For example,
Eric Raymond has no university degree, but, were he to apply for a job
at Google, rest assured that his resume would be happily considered,
under the "or equivalent" clause of many of our job offers. Of course,
Eric is "outstanding among the outstanding", but similar considerations
may apply to many lesser stars in the open-source firmament.


Side note: I don't have a degree, and I interviewed at Google several
years ago. I'm about 97% certain that my lack of degree played little
role (if any) in my failure to get a job offer.
--
Aahz (aa**@pythoncraft.com) <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"19. A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming,
is not worth knowing." --Alan Perlis
Jan 12 '06 #98
In article <ma**************************************@python.o rg>,
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.com> wrote:

The major problem with professional bodies is precisely their lack of
insistence on a practical demonstration of capability. "Paper MCSEs",
for example, frequently make bad Windows system administrators because
their education has been geared to the acquisition not of practical
skills but of the qualification itself. The medical profession acquits
itself reasonably because it does still require a good amount of
doctoring before qualification. Why are the lawyer jokes not doctor
jokes?


While it may not have the same intensity or duration as medical
internship, lawyers are typically required to serve an internship before
being permitted to go into independent practice.
--
Aahz (aa**@pythoncraft.com) <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"19. A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming,
is not worth knowing." --Alan Perlis
Jan 12 '06 #99
On 11 Jan 2006 21:30:11 -0800 in comp.lang.python,
aa**@pythoncraft.com (Aahz) wrote:

[..]

Side note: I don't have a degree, and I interviewed at Google several
years ago. I'm about 97% certain that my lack of degree played little
role (if any) in my failure to get a job offer.


Side note: I have a couple degrees, and I sent in solutions to those
"tests" Google published in Dr. Dobbs a year or so back, but I never
heard back from them.

Not that I expected to. I just did it for fun. I'm not sure what
Google would do with someone whose entire work experience has been
developing C code for small embedded controllers anyway. I use Python
mostly to write small utility scripts for myself.

And, FWIW, I don't think I could convince my wife (or myself) to move
to CullyFORNya for any amount of money, whether there was a massage
therapist on duty or not...

Regards,
-=Dave

--
Change is inevitable, progress is not.
Jan 12 '06 #100

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