Programming is Uniquely Difficult
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Apr 09, 2007
Programming

Engineers of other disciplines often take offense at the claim that software is uniquely difficult. They do have a point. As pointed out by Fred Brooks in hyper-classic The Mythical Man Month, one reason software is hard because software is so uniquely easy.


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Permalink
Apr 06, 2007

Expanding on my quote by John Stossel: I know a lot of people accuse the Bush Administration of trying to build up fear and then take advantage of it.

The latter point is partially true, but the more I think about it, the more clear it is that the fear is almost entirely a media construct. The proof is that fear of (direct) terrorism is only one particular example of a pattern of over-blown media-induced fears, including death by plane, gun violence (for most people), and child kidnapping. I said the latter was partially true because if we're afraid of something, even irrationally, it's our President's job to deal with that fear.

As nifty as weblogs are, the world is still viewed through the lens of media, those over-enthusiastic Journalism majors who wouldn't know a standard deviation if it bit them and thinks that a fair and balanced article means that you're hard on the people you disagree with but give free passes to those whom you agree with.

I've noticed the trend identified in that link myself. A Republican opens his mouth, and the resulting article will have three media-experts (which is sort of like an expert, but not really) lined up to disagree loudly; a Democrat opens his mouth and a sentence will be added to the effect that Republicans disagree. Bonus points for making them sound "obstructionist" in the process. I think the news media should do a better job of simply conveying what the President said sometimes; same for your local Congressman. I don't say this in reference to Bush or any particular Congressman. Elected positions are special; the person occupying the position may be no more special than anybody else but the position itself represents the aggregate wishes of the body politic, and the position should have the privilege of speaking to their electorate without endless snark. I don't favor legislation or coercion on this point, I just think the media should stop trying to spin everything so hard out of common courtesy.

Please feel free to laugh at my naivety in my comments.

Further to this point, I think that Presidents and Congresspeople need to be examining how they can better communicate with their constituencies directly, since it has become obvious that depending on the media to do it is not feasible. That only allows you to express what the journalist wants you to express.

The power of the media to inspire fear is far, far greater than any politicians. The media has amply demonstrated that if a politician says something they don't like, they don't have a problem doing all but mocking it openly every time they mention it, and they've demonstrated that if a politician tries to downplay the media darling of the day that they will all but call for the politician's recall. It's the media, hungry for viewers and powered by ignorance and ideology, that's causing the climate of fear in this country.


Worry About the Right Things
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Apr 04, 2007
So take our reporting with heavy skepticism. Ignore us when we hyperventilate about mad cow disease and the danger of asbestos hidden behind a wall.

Instead, worry about what's worth worrying about: driving, acting reckless, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much, and eating too much. "What is your blood pressure, what are you eating; are you exercising?" is what patients should think about, says internist Marc Siegel. "But obesity is boring. Heart disease is boring. So we tend to not think of the things that can really get us."

The media make it worse. Instead of educating people to real dangers, we scare them about things that hardly matter. - John Stossel, Worry About the Right Things


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Apr 02, 2007

I've been saying it a lot lately, and I'll probably say it some more. Actions speak louder than words.

I won't try to specifically interpret that into this case because that'd probably just trip your finely-honed political BS filters. So I'll just say, over the next few days as Iran cranks the pressure up a notch, watch the actions. Ignore the words.

Well, I will say this: Since the soldiers were kidnapped, not much has happened on the action front, except for some humiliating videos being released which probably don't count for much action. Somebody's going to have a next move, though, because clearly Iran's not very interested in talking. They know to watch actions and ignore words.


Permalink
Apr 01, 2007

Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad. Are you sure your circuits are functioning correctly? Your ears are green.


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