It’s a shame this didn’t happen on the post itself, but thanks to the social network, I was able to rope an old classmate of mine into an online discussion about this post.
It’s interesting that even though we agree in a general way, neither of us want to give latitude on one particular point. Hopefully he will continue to respond!
Ryan: They are definitely not idiots. They are calculating people with an agenda!! …anyone who subscribes to this agenda/vision are the idiots, morons, retards, etc….
Nicholas Hillier: I couldn’t disagree more. You are giving away too much credit. Granted, these two do tap into and exploit fear that naturally compels a certain portion of the population. However, this is not intelligence, it is an animal delusion devoid of empathy and logic. There is no calculation involved, only a dark and unchecked animus.
Ryan: Dark & unchecked animus. I like it! But then again, who would David Koresh be without a hundred (or so) Branch Davidian mentally defective blockheads?? There are lots of people who think they are God’s incarnation in padded cells - but they are missing the followers.
Nicholas Hillier: Sure, but we’re not talking about the mentally insane here. We’re talking about a couple of fear mongering crack pots in the media’s eye.
I don’t think it’s fair to equate the average citizen, susceptible to sensationalized ideas, with religious fanatics.
It’s perfectly legitimate to excuse a mother in charge of protecting her family from being swayed by Sarah Palin, who likes to generalize Muslims and imply really outlandish things like, they want to murder your babies.
This is not calculation, this is blatant fear mongering, as old as days, and just because you are good at it, or have gained a following, doesn’t mean you are intelligent… and so I stand by my comment that these two (among others) are slobbering fools.
Ryan: I’ve run out of big words so you’re likely going to win this argument based on journalistic merit alone - but seriously, religious fanatics and citizens susceptible to sensationalized ideas are cut from the same cloth. Both lack the ability to rationalize. As for these slobbering fools - they have an apt for carrying out a very calculated agenda.
Nicholas Hillier: Not calculated… it’s instinctual. They don’t spend their nights whittling away by candle light running logic simulations on public response. They respond to the public’s furor like animals in heat.
You want to blame legions of people for their ignorance, but I am more interested in the select few who, without considered thought, enrage the rabble in some sort of raptured racist cause.
Certainly there are those who lead by insidious design, but let’s not forget who we are talking about here… Sarah Palin? Bill O’Reilly? Glen Beck? These are not Machiavellian tacticians. They are a couple of assholes who deserve to be publicly flogged for their dangerous idiocy.
In our time there will always be a populous susceptible to flawed yet convincing rhetoric, but you can’t win that battle. It’s much more effective to cut off the head of the Dragon than to pick off it’s scales.
There is no good reason to marquee your code. I don’t need exclamation marks, or forward slashes, dashes and stars to tell me where your function starts.
I sure as hell can read the words “private” and “public” and I know the difference between a function and a field. So stop polluting source code with these hideous comment headers as well.
//************* PARAGRAPH STARTS *************//
All these flashy annoyances just get in the way of the business of figuring out problems. A simple standard, broken only when necessary, eliminates the need for a marquee anyway.
//************* PARAGRAPH ENDS *************//
In fact, the best hint a marquee gives a reader is that author was confused as hell, and needed something big to help manage the source.
Joel Spolsky lied. He probably didn’t mean to, and I’m pretty sure he believes the lie, but it’s a lie none the less. After reading “Coders at Work” last year, he got in his mind some romanticized version of a Code Warrior - The Duct Tape Programmer who cuts and slashes his way through syntax and always ship on time.
It’s a nice thought, but cut impossibly far from reality. These code warriors are the worst type of programmers to have on your team, even short term. Solutions come at any price for them, and thoughts of scale, readability, correctness and cohesion are usually the first casualties of their savage attack.
Carnage is laid in their wake, and some poor hapless soul will have to face the unruly mess with just as many deadlines and pressures as the first barbarian. Conan cannot write code.
Good code is sweet and concise, well thought out and clearly written down. It’s a pleasure to read, and gives other programmers wonderful revelations as they work through the syntax.
It is to this end that conscientious programmer should strive.
Ok, so maybe some can, but from what I can tell, a good 90% can’t write an intelligible letter to their congress person. And yes, this is a terrible thing.
A well known fact: Programmers spend most of their time reading code, not writing it. This is not some new revelation, it’s a known state of being. My big question, is why are so many programmers so terrible at the one skill that would make them a better at their jobs?
In English class my professors were monumentally anal about every misplaced word, every muddled idea. However, redundancy, blurred meaning, lack of structure and useless prose is the order of the day for a programmer.
These days it’s all about the Kindle. There is no easier way I know of to carry around a copy of “The Greatest Show On Earth” and two hot bed texts of religious furor.
I read the Holy Bible while in High School, and not more than a couple years later I read ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ on some sort of super path to enlightenment. Nietzsche was a promise of “the other side” and the Holy Bible was just something I felt needed doing at the time.
My greatest revelations from those two texts were
1) Most Western art references the Holy Bible in one form or another… sometimes directly.
2) Eternal recurrence is much more palatable when Vonnegut is spinning prose.
At that time I believed deeply in a sort of indisputable truth. I also had no idea who Richard Dawkins was. A decade later now and I’m fresh from reading “The Selfish Gene”.
Dawkins floors me. He has a sense of derision toward the popularity of relativism that resonates with me, and has achieved a great deal toward defining a body of work that completely changes the way informed human beings think about themselves and the world around them.
It is unfortunate, however, that he often becomes super charged and arrogant when delivering his message, especially in his vitriolic attacks on religion. This method is unlikely to gain any ground in the communities he attacks, though he presumably prefers to ridicule the devoutly religious than to educate them.
Anyway, as a piece of science, theorem, fact or whatever, it’s nearly impossible to dispute Dawkins account of evolution. And though I firmly agree with its sound logic, I still think he’s missing the point. (Though almost certainly he would say “So what?”) It is for this reason that I am returning to my roots and rereading the Holy Bible, and adding in the Qur’an.
It’s a complete picture. A clean way to step outside of the spell, convincing authors are able to cast on their readers. It certainly is nice that I am able to carry all three texts together and page through them at will.