* Posts by Nick Z

66 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jul 2013


Even more warship cuts floated for the Royal Navy

Nick Z

Re: In 1991, 90% of the Ukraine population voted for independence from Russia...

This doesn't make sense. Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union, which included 13 other republics, besides Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine did not and could not vote for independence from Russia, because it wasn't a part of Russia.

The Soviet Union itself fell apart as a result of Russia declaring independence from the USSR.

Basically, there was a coup attempt against Gorbachev. Yeltsin, who was the head of the Russian Republic, took over Kremlin and the Soviet government. He didn't have any authority to rule the country. The heads of the 14 other republics weren't going to recognize his rule. And that's why the whole country fell apart.

They literally didn't have any central government anymore, after Yeltsin took over Kremlin and arrested the Politburo members. Yeltsin wasn't going to give up his control of Moscow and Russia. And that's why the whole country fell apart.

Nick Z

Re: Not sure what the UK could do about it.

UK, USA, and the EU countries routinely use economic sanctions and economic incentives to influence other countries.

This doesn't always work. But this is something western countries didn't even try to do with Ukraine's government, when Ukraine's government set up this conflict situation in 1991, right after the break up of the Soviet Union.

Supporting one side against another within a divided country is how western colonialism worked before. That's how western countries were able to colonize other countries with much bigger populations in the past. And to it me it looks like western countries used the same tactic in Ukraine. They took advantage of the conflict there and supported one side against the other.

The problem with such colonialism in present day and age is that now many countries have nuclear weapons. This isn't the 19th century anymore. This kind of thing can end badly for everybody involved and uninvolved.

Nick Z

Re: However, they do appear to want to dominate those countries that they are close to....

You could say that western countries are trying to dominate everybody, even countries that are half-way across the world from them.

Which isn't surprising, given the colonial history of UK and other western countries, including USA.

Russia is only concerned about Russians who live close to their borders and many of whom have relatives in Russia. While western countries are going around the world and dominating people who have nothing to do with them either either ethnically or culturally.

I think the EU and UK should've done more to prevent the conflict in Ukraine. Because about 25% of Ukraine's population was ethnic Russians. And even more people there spoke Russian as their first language. But Ukraine's government instituted only one official language and alienated Russians there.

They set up a situation similar to what used to be in Canada with the French language in Quebec. Quebec almost separated from Canada. And the only reason why they didn't do it is because they got their French language rights.

This kind of conflicts are entirely predictable. And western countries should be doing more to bring negotiated settlements for such conflicts, rather than fan the flames and take advantage of them for their own purposes.

Nick Z

Re: Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

I agree with you that having a Nuclear War makes no sense.

And conventional war doesn't make sense either. Because conventional war makes weak countries feel so insecure that they might want to get nuclear weapons, just as North Korea has done, for example.

Countries like UK should be doing more to bring negotiated settlements to various conflicts around the world, rather than support USA in its threats and its wars on other countries.

Because even conventional wars will eventually lead to nuclear wars one way or another.

Nick Z

Any war with Russia probably will be a Nuclear War

It doesn't make sense for UK to arm itself with conventional ships for a possible war with resurgent Russia.

If war with Russia is expected and planned, then building more and better nuclear weapons makes the most sense.

Because Russia isn't nearly as strong as NATO countries, including USA, both in conventional weapons and in people. They'll have to start using nuclear weapons almost right away, if they are to have any hope of even a draw in a war with UK and NATO.

There's a battle on over two US spying laws: One allows snooping on citizens – one bans it

Nick Z

There is a saying, "Don't do unto others that which you don't want to be done to yourself."

Americans broke this rule when they established a double standard, one for themselves and another one for foreigners.

And now everybody is a foreigner as far as US intelligence agencies are concerned.

It was a foot in the door to do something unethical. And once this became acceptable, then it wasn't so hard to move it a little further and include everybody.

Sex harassment scandal scoops up Silicon Valley's Slimy Scoble

Nick Z

Dictatorship usually leads to human rights abuse

I think it all comes down to the fact that the workplace is not a democracy.

It's a either a tyranny, a dictatorship, or an oligarchy. And of course there is a lot of variation in how harsh or how benevolent the dictatorship is, depending on the person in charge.

It's the power imbalance that causes people to think and feel differently and misbehave as a result of that. Some scientists go so far as to say that having power over others causes brain damage.


Telling people to stop it once and for all, while leaving the mechanism that causes it in place, probably won't solve this problem.

Because this is like telling autocratic Kings and dictators to be benevolent, and leaving their dictatorship in place, rather than changing the whole government to a democracy.

Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

Nick Z

Re: But we do already know that it annihilates when it comes into contact with matter.

Yes. And given this fact, you also need to conclude that matter and anti-matter didn't come into contact with each other, at the moment of their creation.

Because this is the logical implication of this known fact and the fact that matter and anti-matter are normally created in equal proportions according to physics theories and equations.

Which means that the Big Bang explosion must've happened in such a way that matter and anti-matter flew in opposite directions with opposite spins. Because that's the only way they could avoid coming into contact with each other.

I'd say this one known fact tells you a lot about how the Big Bang explosion must've happened.

Nick Z

Re: "And the two types of matter might have been expelled unevenly in different directions."

The thing about the Big Bang explosion is that nobody knows the mechanism of how it happened. It's beyond modern physics theories.

The difference between matter and anti-matter is their spin direction. They spin in opposite directions. And that's why they destroy each other, when they come into contact with each other. The amount of friction or energy is doubled, when objects spinning in opposite directions come into contact with each other.

And it's entirely conceivable that the Big Bang explosion itself put a spin on matter and anti-matter. One side of the explosion put a spin in one direction and the other side of the same explosion put a spin in the opposite direction. That's why matter and anti-matter separated without annihilating each other.

They became matter and anti-matter only as a result of the explosion, which also separated them from each other and made them fly in opposite directions.

Our Universe might represent only half of the explosion, and the other half, made of anti-matter, is beyond our ability to see, because it's too far away.

Nick Z

Cosmic explosions are often so powerful that they are inefficient at including all available matter.

When a star implodes and becomes a black hole for example, then a lot of its matter is expelled into space. Only some of its matter becomes a part of the back hole. And even when a black hole attracts matter, then a lot of this matter is accelerated away from the black hole and is expelled as jets of matter. Only some of the attracted matter becomes a part of the black hole.

Perhaps something like this happened during the Big Bang. The combination of matter and anti-matter produced such a powerful explosion that a lot of the material was expelled away from the explosion, rather than being consumed by the explosion. And the two types of matter might have been expelled unevenly in different directions.

Which means that there could be an anti-universe somewhere out there, made up of anti-matter, rather than of matter.

Vodafone analysed evidence in case where it was alleged victim

Nick Z

I'd say that both the police and the courts are to blame here.

Because the police should've used a neutral investigator to get the evidence for them.

And the courts should've dismissed the case, when the police clearly biased the evidence by using the accuser as their investigator.

Continuous Lifecycle 2018: Agile pioneer Dr Linda Rising to keynote

Nick Z

It would be nice to have some papers and presentations that deal with objections to some of the things Agile proponents say.

I've been reading an Agile textbook, Introduction to Agile Methods by Sondra Ashomore and Kristin Runyan. And the authors there is say that open office environment, where everybody works in the same room close to each other, is the way to go. And they also say that managers and workers, who don't fit into the Agile environment, might need to be fired.

And this book doesn't have any references to any scientific journals from Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or any other social science. It's all a bunch of management gurus and self-appointed experts promoting Agile ideas.

I did some googling to find out what social scientists have to say about the open office work environment. And I was surprised to see a lot of negative research findings.


I think Agile proponents need to take such objections seriously. Or else this whole movement is going to lose its credibility.

Apple Cook roasted for Chinese app takeaway

Nick Z

USA itself has a poor human rights record, both internally and even more so externally.


The US government is literally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and probably Syria too.

I'd say that killing people is worse than restricting the freedom of speech. USA is in no position to criticize China on its human rights record.

Google faces $10k-a-day fines if it defies court order to hand over folks' private overseas email

Nick Z

Mail held overseas probably belongs to a non-US citizen

If the US government starts using US companies to extend its jurisdiction to other countries, then these US companies won't be so welcome in other countries anymore.

At least some countries will probably protect their sovereignty by prohibiting their citizens from using online services of US companies.

Survey: Tech workers are terrified they will be sacked for being too old

Nick Z

Age bias tells young people that they have no future in the IT industry

Everybody becomes an older worker eventually. Who wants to have a career that lasts only 10 or 15 years?

Age-bias is discouraging even the younger people from going into the IT industry. Because it doesn't make sense for young people to invest a lot of time, money, and effort into a career that won't last.

The way employers treat older workers shows younger workers how they will be treated, when they get older. Which means that age bias probably has a demoralizing effect on both older and younger workers.

You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

Nick Z

Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Perhaps there is a problem with the whole concept of hiring people on the basis of an interview.

Because it's a well known fact in statistics that any kind of human performance is distributed on a normal curve. Any single sample can be anywhere on that curve. It's not representative at all of the person's typical ability and performance.

The smaller your sample, the less representative it is of the person's general ability and performance.

A person's performance over months and years at school or on a previous job is much more representative of his or her general ability than any coding interview that lasts for an hour or two.

Relying a lot on interviews is bound to produce a lot of false positives and false negatives. This is just common sense from a statistical point of view.

But employers don't seem to realize this for some reason. It's as if they still living in the Dark Ages, before statistical science was discovered.

Nick Z

Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

An experienced IT recruiter, Gayle Laakmann McDowell, say in her book Cracking the Coding Interview that doing well in a typical coding interview requires totally different skills from those of everyday work in the IT industry.

She also says in her book that employers don't mind getting false negatives and rejecting good workers, as long as they eventually find somebody good.

I think this says a lot about why so many employers are having such a hard time finding good IT staff. They are testing people for knowledge and skills that have little to do with everyday work. Which leads to a lot of false negatives.

The problem is that employers don't know how to look for good workers. And that's why they are having such a hard time finding people.

Microsoft concedes to Mozilla: Redmond will point web API docs at Moz Dev Network

Nick Z

Without examples, good English doesn't tell you much

The reason, why Stack Overflow is such a popular reference for developers, is that you can find many real examples there and not just good English.

Good English gives you a general idea. Which might be enough for some people, when they are already familiar with the code. But when you are doing it for the first time, then you need real examples in the documentation. Or else this documentation doesn't help you much.

English language isn't a programming language. Which means that you lose a lot of details and information, when you translate code into English.

Dying! Yahoo! loses! fight! to! lock! dead! man's! dead! account!

Nick Z

Re: No need to rule on terms of service

The way I understand this recent ruling is that the person's email account is a part of his possessions, which the estate manager has a legal responsibility to manage. And managing it involves having access to it.

Because the judgement says that digital goods aren't a separate class of possessions. Which means that they should be treated the same way as the person's all other possessions.

Estate managers aren't restricted from viewing the person's private letters written on paper and sent by regular mail. So, why should electronic mail be treated any different?

This is what the law says about it, according to the judges.

Nick Z

No need to rule on terms of service

A private agreement between a company and its customers cannot override the law.

Because an agreement needs to be lawful and legal. Or else it's invalid.

Whenever there is contradiction between the law and some kind of an agreement, then the law always takes precedence.

Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

Nick Z

Testing is a lot easier than creating the original program

It took Einstein to come up with the Theory of Relativity. But plenty of ordinary physicists have devised tests for this theory and have tested it thoroughly.

The same is true for creating a computer program. Machine learning can create a very complicated program. But you, as a human, can create all kinds of tests for it to determine how it will perform in various circumstances and perhaps add to it some human-written code to correct its flaws.

There is no reason why computer programs have to be either completely done by machine learning or written by humans. The best result is when you have a combination of both.

Nick Z

Re: Thats interesting but in short...

Testing is the basis of all science. That what the scientific method is all about. Science itself is a type of test-driven development.

And that's why I say that testing should be the basis of software development. Because otherwise you end up with a hodge-podge of some science mixed in with a lot of beliefs, superstitions, and ignorance.

Computer programs are a reflection of people's minds. And it's important to remember that people have a long history of all kinds superstitions, mistaken beliefs, and ignorance. The only thing that has helped people overcome such state of being is science and its method of thorough testing, before accepting any assumption or belief.

Nick Z

Software testing is the key to knowing whether it works or not

I'd say that automated testing of software functionality is the key to making sure that it works as intended.

There is such a thing as test-driven development, where you write a test, before you even write any code to make the program pass this test. And of course, all of these tests stay in the program, so that every time you make a change in the program, then you run these tests again to make sure that you haven't broken anything that was working before.

This is the direction software development needs to go. Because you can artificially create very rare program states that seldom happen in real life. And you can run it in such a rare state repeatedly, until you iron out all the bugs. This way, rare states become as common as any other states for development purposes.

Test-driven development is actually how automated neural networks create their programs. But there is no good reason why it needs to be completely automated and left to the machines. Human developers should write tests for neural networks to increase their testing above and beyond what they do on their own automatically.

Neural networks require a new discipline in software development. Which is writing automated tests for such networks to make sure they perform as expected.

Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Nick Z

Consciousness and self-awareness doesn't require any great intelligence

Even cockroaches are in a way conscious of themselves and their place in their environment.

Their consciousness and self-awareness is of the same kind as that of animals and human beings. The difference is in the amount and the complexity, but not in kind.

Perhaps the power of computers isn't yet enough to create this kind of consciousness. Because consciousness involves simulation of one's environment and of oneself in this simulated environment in real time, based on sensory inputs.

The key is that it needs to be done in real time. Which requires a lot of computing power. But there is no fundamental reason why in the future people won't write computer programs to create such simulations and create artificial consciousness and self-awareness this way.

It's not like there is some law against it that will stop people from doing it. And even if some country makes a law against it, then people in some other country will probably develop it anyway.

Russia, America dig into tug-of-war over Bitcoin laundering suspect

Nick Z

It's hard to know who is right and who is wrong, when you don't know the evidence.

But given the recent anti-Russian hysteria in USA by US politicians and mainstream media, it's hard to imagine that this guy will get a fair trial there.

This would be like sending a Jewish person to Nazi Germany for trial in 1930s. Because there is some ethnic hate going on there. This isn't just some political disagreement, the way it was during the Cold War.

The word 'Russian' describes nationality and ethnicity. And if you read US media, then they definitely have something against Russians there.

Russian spies used Kaspersky AV to hack NSA staffer, swipe exploit code – new claim

Nick Z

There is so much spying going on that you can't really avoid being spied upon. You can only choose who will spy on you by picking either US-made, or Russian-made, or Chinese-made software.

I'd rather be spied upon by foreigners, who have little interest in what I'm doing, than by a domestic government, who has all kinds of legal and illegal powers to do things against me. And this is probably true for most other people too.

Ordinary people in Russia should choose US-made software. And ordinary Americans should choose Russian-made software. This way they would at least be safer from surveillance by their own government.

It all depends on who has the least interest in you.

Russian telco backs up North Korea's sole Internet link

Nick Z

This is a political decision, rather than a commercial one

The TransTelekom company is a subsidiary of the Russian Railways company.


And the owner of the Russian Railways company is the Russian Government.


Both China and Russia don't want to establish a precedent by letting North Korea have nuclear weapons. Because then Ukraine and Taiwan might want to get nuclear weapons too.

But they also don't want USA and its allies to take over North Korea and surround them both even more in military terms. That's why they will only go half-way against North Korea. And they'll do whatever it takes to help North Korea survive.

Schrems busts Privacy Shield wide open

Nick Z

Data exporting is a way to get around data protection laws

One of Snowden's revelations was that USA and its allies where spying for each other on each other's citizens. This was a way for them stay legally within their law, while in practice trashing and disrespecting their law completely.

US citizens are protected by US law from unwarranted government surveillance. But if their data happens to be in UK, then the US law doesn't apply there anymore. The UK government is free to do all the spying it wants on US citizens and then pass on that information back to the US government.

And of course, it was done the other way too, where the US government spied on UK citizens for the UK government.

Exporting data outside of legal jurisdiction is basically exporting it outside the law. It's literally a way to get around the law and disregard it completely, as if the law doesn't even exist.

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

Nick Z

The human brain itself is a simulator of the universe

Our experience of the universe is created by our own brain.

There is no such thing as color or solidity or even movement of time out there in the universe. All of these experiences are created by our own brains.

Which literally means that we all live in a simulated universe.

The universe itself isn't simulated. But our perception and experience of it is simulated.

EU tells Facebook and Twitter: Obey us or we'll start regulating

Nick Z

Restrictions on speech need to be balanced by freedom of speech

If the things people say on private platforms is considered public speech, then this speech needs to have the same human rights protection that normal public speech has.

Focusing only on restricting people's speech, without any balance to ensure that people are free to say legitimate things, is what dictatorial governments normally do.

If the law extends to speech hosted at private companies, then the human rights protection for freedom of speech should extend there too. Or else you end up with privatized dictatorship, where governments subcontract dictatorship to private entities to get around democracy and human rights protections.

'Dear diversity hire...' Amazon's weapons-grade fail in recruitment email to woman techie

Nick Z

Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

The problem with recruiting more women for diversity purposes is that only young women need apply.

Once the woman gets older, then she'll have a hard time finding a job. Which is also true for older men.

Why would young women want go into the IT industry and work for companies like Amazon, when the IT industry is so famous for its age bias?

Why would young women want to have a career that lasts only 15 or 20 years, and then they aren't wanted anymore?

You better explain yourself, mister: DARPA's mission to make an accountable AI

Nick Z

Being logical and reasonable is no guarantee of being right

The problem with explaining anything is that being being perfectly logical and reasonable is no guarantee that you are right.

Because perfect logic can lead to false conclusions, when the assumptions for your logic are either incorrect or incomplete. And there is no sure way to know if all of your assumptions are correct and complete.

That's why ancient Greeks came to some spectacularly wrong conclusions using logic about the Solar system. They thought that the Earth rotated around the Sun.

And that's why today's standard for truth isn't logic. It's evidence based on scientific experiments.

The world is full of examples, where people rationalize anything they want to do. Even Hitler rationalized his atrocities and probably seemed reasonable to his people at the time.

Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

Nick Z

USA has one highest incarceration rates in the world

Going to USA is like going to the prison capital of the world. Because they imprison more people per capita than virtually any other country in the world.


This isn't well-known in western countries, who are friendly with USA. This is like a blind spot for westerners and even for people who live in USA. Which isn't surprising.

It's a lot easier to focus your attention on the faults of your rivals and enemies, than look at yourself and your friends with a critical eye.

Mini-Heartbleed info leak bug strikes Apache, airborne malware, NSA algo U-turn, and more

Nick Z

Re: "There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards"

A recent study has found that simply being a part of a group can make you more dishonest and less moral, than you would normally be as an individual.


Perhaps this explains how governments end up violating people's freedoms and rights and doing all kinds of unethical things. While individual dissidents often point out the wrongs and protest them.

HPE sharpening the axe for 5,000 heads – report

Nick Z

Good reason to stay away from the IT industry

This kind of large layoffs coupled with reports of widespread age discrimination in the IT industry is probably enough to discourage many people from going into the IT industry.


Because nobody stays young forever. And if you get laid off in your 40s or 50s, then you might not find another job.

Perhaps men don't have much of a choice. The same thing happens in many other industries too.

But women have some better choices, such as Nursing for example. Nurses don't have massive layoffs. Their employment is more secure, even when they get older.

Congress battles Silicon Valley over upcoming US sex trafficking law

Nick Z

Re: "Two wrongs don't make a right."

The solution to keep young women from being bought and abused is the same as before the Internet came into existence. It's looking for people who commit crimes and putting them on trial.

Freedom of speech and communication is a basic human right. And by itself it doesn't cause any direct harm, unless it's used for defamation or to cause panic.

Of course, you can extrapolate indirect harm, that's twice or thrice removed from various things people say. And you can use this reasoning to restrict the freedom of speech.

But if you go down this path, then you can end up without any freedoms and rights. Everything can become a privilege doled out by a dictatorial government. Because there are so many indirect consequences from everything people say and do, that you can reason away every freedom and right.

For example, disagreeing with the government or the majority in society can be seen as harming social harmony. And the government can prohibit it on this basis. And this is just one of many possible examples.

Nick Z

The most effective way to stop online crime is to shut down the Internet

Freedom of speech and communication means freedom to use it in both good and bad ways.

Freedom is always like this. It's not possible to make it only one way. If you make it one way, then it's not freedom anymore.

It's possible to reduce crime by restricting everyone's rights and freedoms. But this in itself is a crime against democracy. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Senators call for '9/11-style' commission on computer voting security

Nick Z

This isn't about Russia or voting security at all

Right now, US State governments are in control of voter registration and voting in Federal elections. Which doesn't sit well with Federal politicians.

It's a power grab by the Federal government at the expense of State governments. And of course, they need to justify it somehow. That's why they are making up all kinds of stories about Russia, without any evidence.

The outcome of all this hoopla probably will be a big recommendation for the Federal government to take over the electoral process from State governments.

Google sued for paying women less than men

Nick Z

It's hard to argue with evidence.

When a system to ensure fairness is in place. But it's very ineffective in achieving its stated goal. Then you need to wonder if this system is there just for show, or is it a sincere effort?

When people are doing something wrong, then they normally either try to hide it or put on some show of legitimate appearance.

Which means that you can't really judge companies and people by their self-projected image. Only the results of what they do can tell you the truth.

Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

Nick Z

Secrecy and democracy are incompatible with each other

The problem is secrecy itself.

Consent isn't valid, unless it's an informed consent. That's what the law says in medical type of consent and other types of consent. And that's how it is with the consent from the people to be governed by their government. This consent needs to be informed, or else it's not valid.

When the government is hiding not just some specific operations but the laws and rules which it follows. Then it's fair to say that the consent from the people to be governed by their government isn't valid anymore.

What we have now is just an illusion of democracy for propaganda and deception purposes. It's like the Soviet Union also claimed to be democratic, because they had regular elections. It was done for propaganda purposes.

Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

Nick Z

There is only so much you can do to extend an existing field of knowledge.

Exponential growth in knowledge happens only when some new field of knowledge is discovered, and almost everything is unknown in there.

A good example was the discovery of electromagnetic waves. Before their discovery, people didn't even know that such waves existed. And of course, there was a lot to discover, once this field was opened up for research.

Running out of ideas is inevitable, when you are just trying to extend existing fields of knowledge. The only way to keep ideas going is to discover new fields of knowledge, where almost everything is unknown.

Wonder why Congress doesn't clamp down on its gung-ho spies? Well, wonder no more

Nick Z

Constant war turns public opinion against democracy

War makes people feel insecure.

Because killing in war is seldom one-sided. The other side might be weaker, but they can still do some damage. And it's this feeling of constant insecurity that destroys people's support for democracy.

Because according to Maslow's theory of human motivation, known as The Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, people's need for safety trumps all of their higher needs, including the needs associated with the need for freedom and democracy.


And warning people about it won't change their opinions. Because as long as the government can make its people feel insecure by constantly waging war on others, then the people will truly feel insecure and behave accordingly. They will not support democracy.

It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

Nick Z

Re: The studies were done in the 80s

Forgetting past studies about flat design is another sign that people in Computer Science need to have a better training in science.

Because true scientists never forget to look for evidence, before they make any kind of claims or conclusions. Scientists always need to back up any claims they make either with published studies from the past or with new studies and experiments they themselves have done and published.

Evidence is everything in science. Without evidence, you only have speculation and beliefs, rather than some kind of knowledge. And it's not just any kind of evidence. It has to be evidence based on the scientific method, with proper experiments and controls.

Nick Z

Re: based on 71 users

Scientists usually need to replicate their studies to be sure of their findings.

But what strikes me about this whole thing is that nobody did any such study, before flat design became popular.

Some people and companies just said it was good to do. And the majority went along, as if this was God's truth. Nobody even bothered to check how this change affected software usability for people.

I think this should be a lesson for the IT industry, not just about flat design, but about computer programming in general. Evidence-based programming is what the IT industry really needs.

Because there are other examples in software development where some popular guy or a group of popular guys say that this or that is good to do. And a lot of people in the industry follow along and treat it as if it's some kind of religion.

It's almost like people trained in Computer Science don't know much about science. Because they aren't using the scientific method and they aren't conducting scientific experiments the way true scientists usually do.

Google, propaganda, and the new New Man

Nick Z

Re: only IT is a toxic places for women to work in ....

I'd say that this toxicity is just a symptom of something deeper going on. I think there is a problem with the way IT work is organized and done.

I've been studying computer programming recently at school. I did a lot of group projects with my fellow students. And I was quite surprised to see that my fellow students were invariably choosing their friends and acquaintances for their team members. Nobody even tried to go after the best students in the class and try to include them in their group.

This selection of team members wasn't merit-based at all. It was just people who knew each other always getting together.

Perhaps that's what's going on in the IT industry as a whole. People, who know each other, are networking with each other and helping each other with jobs and promotions. It's all based on friendships and networking, rather than on merit and ability.

In this situation, if you aren't a part of the so-called 'old boys network', then you aren't invited and you get left out.

Nick Z

Re: civilisation is *made* from deceit

Deliberate lying leads to distrust. It damages society, because people stop trusting each other and their social institutions.

People might mistakenly have unrealistic expectations and dreams and sincerely believe in them. And perhaps this is the kind of dreams you are talking about. But this isn't lying. This is just making an honest mistake.

If you deceive people into entering a profession that isn't well suited for them, then eventually they might drop out of the labor market for a while, or just work part time to get by. Because they might not trust what other people will tell them about other professions.

Nick Z

Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

Even the women, who are already in the IT industry now, are leaving it in droves. Because many of them feel that they aren't being treated well.


Deceiving women, so that they will go into the IT industry, might work to some extent. But this will only damage women's lives, when they find out what it's like and decide to change careers. This is years of wasted life, where women might delay their marriage, having kids, and doing other things, just because they need to go back to school and learn another profession.

I think it's unethical to tell women to go into the IT industry and hide from them all the problems women are having there. This is almost like deliberately harming people.

Prejudiced humans = prejudiced algorithms, and it's not an easy fix

Nick Z

Re: The issue is how to separate these personal preferences ...

I'd say that the more informal is your decision making, the more your personal prejudices will come out and play a role in your decision.

Because when you don't follow some kind of explicit rules, that other people can look at and decide whether they are fair or not, then it's just your personal opinion that you use to make your decision.

When people are prejudiced, then they usually don't know that they are prejudiced. They think that they are fair and square.

The only way to become aware of your prejudice and correct it is to let many other people look your decision-making and let them judge whether it's fair or not. Which isn't possible, when you base your decision on how you feel, rather than follow some explicit rules that are available for other people to look at. Your feeling is available only to you and not to other people.

Informal decision-making, that's opaque and cannot be examined by other people, is probably another big cause of discrimination in the IT industry.

China's cybersecurity law grants government 'unprecedented' control over foreign tech

Nick Z

Snowden's revelations, about US spying on the whole world, made sure this will happen

I'm actually surprised that it took this long for the Chinese government to make such a law.

The US government openly spies on the whole world. The only privacy protections USA has is for American citizens. There aren't any restrictions at all for spying on foreigners.

The Internet originated in USA. Which means that a lot of the Internet infrastructure is located in USA. And this gives the US government a huge advantage over other countries in spying on the whole world, including people living in China.

China isn't the first or the last to make such a law. It doesn't make sense for any country to let USA spy on them, the way Edward Snowden has revealed a few years ago.