Wednesday assorted links


3. I'm amazed they found conscientious people who managed to stay unemployed for 3 years.

I don't see why this is puzzling. Surely your chances of not finding a job for three years are much better if you make a conscious and conscientious effort to avoid sending job applications etc.

Good point.

At the risk of sounding flippant, I will say: if that’s the conscientious ones, you oughta see the non-conscientious ones!

Conscientious: it' about putting lots of attention to details, but no judgement to separate meaningful from meaningless details. So, don't mistake conscientious for intelligent.

Even so, if you're not a complete idiot and show up for work, you have to be able to find something.

2: >>The first mistake is in thinking that the child should have any say in the matter.

Ha! "Elaine's Idle Mind," indeed.

Forgot to mention:

>"I get this question a lot"

Elaine, there is zero chance that anyone asks you questions, least of all "a lot" of them.

She makes some good points.

She does... but the algebra metaphor is wrong. You can teach your kids algebra without expecting them to become physicists. You can teach your kids to write without expecting them to become novelists. You can teach your kids to code without expecting them to become software engineers.

The ability to code is necessary, but not sufficient, to become a software engineer. To explain gender disparities in software engineering, look elsewhere.

"Work isn’t fun."

This strikes me as pretty horrible. I coded because it was fun. If you don't have a budding geek on your hands, a kid who views it that way, I think it's crazy to force it. Schools today have an introduction to coding, pretty much every Middle School. That's plenty for any non-geek.

Besides, "olds" can't grasp the fearlessness of digital natives, more than that smartphone natives. They are comfortable pushing buttons until they get what they want. That's all coding is.

You won’t succeed in software development unless you are a major nerd who is extremely passionate about coding and tech. It’s a passion profession just like being an artist. There’s absolutely no room for people who consider it just “a days work”.

"Besides, “olds” can’t grasp the fearlessness of digital natives, more than that smartphone natives. They are comfortable pushing buttons until they get what they want. That’s all coding is."

Only if you want spaghetti.

Code reviews are an important part of the mentoring process ;-)

+1 this was my main objection to the article. All of the excellent software engineers I know would enjoy working on "boring" projects like load balancers, because they would find interesting problems there and solve them in elegant ways. Developers find the process of creation rewarding, apart from how exciting the final product is.

Hey! Load balancers are super fun. HAproxy (my personal favorite) is well written and interesting. Plus it's got an exceedingly pleasant learning curve - the easy stuff is easy and if the hard things are hard it's only because I don't understand what I want to do well enough - not because the tool makes it difficult.

Agreed. Silliest part of a pretty silly article.

Do most people enjoy their work or not? Surely if you want your chidren to be happy in life, you should want them to find careers that give them some satisfaction.

Personally, as a structural engineer, I enjoy what I do.

dear god you are headed for the worst crash of your life and it's gonna come up fast. your late 30s are going to be a real wake up call.

Pleasantly surprised by the article, I expected it to be a signalling link. "Force them to do it," will work much better than the cringe-worthy attempts to get kids to think "writing code is fun." IMHO the most successful strategy for getting more people interested in coding would be to emphasize the amount of money they make, that has the added benefit of actually being true. Of course, it will appeal as much to males as it will to females, so no 'progress' there.

"More confusing still, is that the people screaming most loudly about getting girls to code are not themselves coders. Ellen Pao founded Project Include to get more women into tech, but the only engineer on her team is a dude."

Of course. The real purpose of the "more women in STEM" stuff is to transfer the wealth created by those mostly male engineers to women who are not engineers. Recall the cartoon:

Another reason is because STEM is full of nerds who are desperate for the approval of women, and thus will uncritically believe of feign belief in their stories of supposed discrimination. That's why Ellen Pao portrayed her experience of supposed discrimination at Kleiner Perkins as occurring in the "tech industry" rather than the finance industry.

However, the article makes the false claim that 74% of software jobs are held by immigrants. The citation provided actually says that 74% of "nearly 74% of all Silicon Valley employed Computer and Mathematical workers ages 25-44 in 2014 were foreign-born." Considering the high proportion of Asians in Silicon Valley, and the fact that they are disproportionately young, that isn't surprising. It also fails to make a distinction between public sector workers and private sector workers, the former are significantly more likely to be immigrants. This high immigrant share is supposed to be evidence that engineers are a low-status position. I think we've all heard the complaints about it, there's a lot of truth there, but the key question is compared to what. She compares it to venture capital, but the only suggestion about how to reach that lofty height is to "teach them about capitalism." Good Luck With That.

Ellen Pao is a sociopath who has gained the support of a dedicated movement of sociopaths

If the #1 way to get more people into software engineering jobs were to emphasize the money they make, we wouldn't have nearly as many English majors. I think that's largely an argument that works on older people, and not those starting careers.

I can't speak to the percentage of immigrants in software development jobs generally, as I haven't studied it, but I will say that my east-coast team of 12 has only 3 non-immigrant software engineers. I was honestly a little surprised to realize this.

yawn, I've already read the Tiger Mom book. She was wrong and so is this chick.

If so, no bank regulators older than 40

1. Studying obvious conclusions to see if they hold up is probably a good thing, I guess.

Firm grasp of the obvious.

In my 67 year-old case, likely it's need for the money to pay living expenses and the realization that one has few years to recover from a financial set-back.

I can't decide whether it is physiological or psychological. I find many common activities tedious and tiresome. I need to consciously push myself.

I don't think it is as obvious as Dude Man suggests, and even if the conclusion is obvious the mechanisms are not (and likely several and varied). Also, developing measurement methods for such things is a good thing - if we can't measure something seemingly obvious, how can we trust measurements in cases less so that require similar methods?

Taking the psychological, the endowment effect and Prospect theory spring to mind. Older people have more stuff, and also have accumulated experience with losses. There is also some sense for many that their wealth should be passed on, and that, in a sense, it no longer fully belongs to them but to their decedents.

There's also a gender aspect - if women really are more risk averse, for whatever reason, and an increasing proportion of them have decision making power over the allocation of capital, other things equal that should show up too.

I think it is a good that such research is pursued.

#2) Lots of frank wisdom in this one. I'm not sure why coding is not a standard part of the mathematics curriculum. Whether the criteria for forming curricula is practical knowledge or teaching how to think, coding satisfies both.

How much do people who aren't software or web developers code? Outside of tech (which makes up about ~2% of the workforce), how much do people code in their jobs?

Not to mention that the vast majority of programming jobs especially web Dev stuff requires zero knowledge of higher mathematics or science.

How much do people outside of STEM use geometry, trigonometry, or even algebra?

I use algebra to find out the unit cost of stuff at the grocery store before buying it. At least I used to before they started putting that on the price tags. Now I just use it to keep track of how much I'm drinking when I go out. Still, point taken.

Do you really or do you just use multi-step arithmetic? I can understand that mentally you picture it is as an equation with a variable, but would you ever use an answer expressed in terms of a variable (and thus gain some benefit from the use of variable)? Genuinely curious.

Or geography, history, English (There even are places where English completely/Disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years!), social studies, logic, arithmetic, Literature. Down with Jefferson, Euclid and Shakespeare!
"We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control."

"It's more important to be red than to be expert!"

“It’s more important to be red than to be expert!”

I see you’ve met my colleagues in the sociology department.

No, it was a favorite motto of the Maoist Gang of Four during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Tradesmen. Plumbers, pipe fitters, carpenters, metal workers, remodeling...the list is actually fairly long. I know that the inability to do basic algebra is a issue for some. Basic pipe fitting and some electrician tests, for instance.

Even trig has its uses. One of my (blue-collar no college) friends use trigonometry all the time as a surveyor. (I don't really get how or why even though he's explained it, but math is far from my strong suit)

Few people actually do pencil and paper trig, geometry, algebra, but many, especially in the trades use the concepts daily. Some graphical aides have been developed. These not only get past the school-induced math helplessness, but also are more productive and less error prone.

Your top level guys who can solve new problems have a very intuitive feel for the math.

Most working engineers, even in electronics, never solve a differential equation outside of school. But having a feel for them and understanding the concepts is used all the time. BTW, most partial differential equations can't be solved. And the ones that can, you learn to recognize them, pull up the solution and move on. Solving math equations over and over is not productive work outside of school.

I know that the inability to do basic algebra is a issue for some. Basic pipe fitting and some electrician tests, for instance.

That's not the ability to do the work. That's the ability to pass the test to be allowed to do the work.

Geometry is used all the time. Trig as you say when you study and learn motor theory or a/c electrical theory.

At the entry level, quite a few. If you work with numbers in any way, you'll probably do something that is functionally coding. It might be database queries or simple scripts, but having some experience coding is very useful. Of course, a large chunk of business is set up in such a way that people with people skills or connections can avoid actually knowing anything which is why the article is correct, children of VC's probably don't need to know how to code.

I use a bit in working with Excel and Access

"how much do people code in their jobs?"

Not coding but understanding the basic concepts. I am fed up with streams of forms to be filled from the admin staff. WIth elementary understanding of database and mail merge they could have send out emails asking if there is any chnages and quoating last year's data and the staff could have replied no change and be done with it in a few seconds. Instead the whole department staff have to wasting time filling in the forms doing their jobs for them.

You must be an admin.

I said above that I thought all middle schools offer programming .. but that must be my California bubble. Per this it is 40%.

I'd say it would ideally be an elective everywhere, possibly through for-credit MOOCs. This is one area where MOOCs excel.

It is pretty debatable whether coding is good for teaching how to think. The linked piece starts with the fallacy of the excluded middle -- work is either fun or not fun. Life isn't binary.

Learning how to code is necessary to unlock all the productivity gains from the IT revolution. Coding means you can do more with a computer than just use the software on it the way that software was designed to be used. I'm not talking about everyone learning to write their own applications from scratch, I mean using basic scripting to because more more productive. If your job involves mostly working in Excel chances are really good that you could be productive if you wrote VBA scripts for your repetitive tasks. Using Excel formulas helps, but they're limited in too many ways to be enough. The same is true if you spend most of your day answering emails. if you work with shared information you will be more productive if you integrate your workflow into a centralized shared website. if you're not working in a office suite with scripting capabilities you can probably automate some of your work in a popular language like Python.

What makes an office worker who can also code so productive is that they intimately understand the tasks that they're writing code for. Explaining what the users need to the programmers so that they make the right software is often challenging, for multiple reasons, but the problem goes away when the customer is the programmer. The code may be inefficient or bad, but for small projects that's not really a problem. If a department decides to buy or create an application to subsume some of the little scripts its people wrote and use they can use those scripts as the baseline for the first release of the new application. Each script is its own test case that the new application must pass.

This is a pretty good description of the usefulness of coding even for non-technical jobs.

"The code may be inefficient or bad"

Just as long as you understand that "bad" includes "returns wrong answers."

It takes another level of seriousness to QC yourself, and I'm not sure that is really possible in the "push them to do it" scenario.

if your just automating something you already know how to do then you presumably know what the right and wrong answers are.
At this point it's really just a matter of general competence. if you suck at your job, you probably aren't going to do a great job automating it, but then, you won't keep it for long either way.

2. This is much more left wing than what normally appears on this site.

"The second mistake is in allowing your child to believe that a career should be fulfilling and fun. The do-what-you-love mythology has led thousands of students to load up on debt for a degree in what amounts to a hobby.

Work isn’t fun. If work was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t pay you to do it. Software engineering is no different. Yes, we hear about cool projects like self-driving cars and rockets to Mars, but most Silicon Valley engineers are working on boring stuff like server virtualization and load balancers. My first programming job consisted of generating test vectors for network routers. Don’t get me wrong; my current job is great. But it took many years of crap jobs to get here."

This is true, but it goes against the "code for 70 hours a week because it's your passion" mantra Silicon Valley seems to be deluding itself with.

"“The second mistake is in allowing your child to believe that a career should be fulfilling and fun. The do-what-you-love mythology has led thousands of students to load up on debt for a degree in what amounts to a hobby."

I wouldn't classify that statement as Left wing. It's pragmatic and results oriented. And if anything it leans more to the Right.

“code for 70 hours a week because it’s your passion” That's more of a Left wing idea. The Right wing version would be: “code for 70 hours a week because it’s a way to make a lot of money”.

You will FAIL as a software developer if you are motivated by money. If you are willing to put in 70-80 hour weeks there are WAY more lucrative professions. SW Dev is a passion profession like being an artist.

I can never tell when you're trolling.

I’m serious programming is a super shitty option if you want money.

When it comes to STEM worship, and software in particular, JAMRC is practically a g'dam Oracle compared to most of the commetariat.

I went from actuary to software developer.

If you're in it for the money, be an actuary.

he's not trolling even a little bit. if you want to make money by working 80 hours a week you should be a lawyer or stock broker.

I went from being a software developer to a lawyer.

If you're in it for the money, be a lawyer.

Software developers aren't motivated by money. Right. That's why firms don't give any thought at all about compensation incentives like vesting schedules. It's a total coincidence when developers change jobs just as their equity finishes vesting. VCs also aren't motivated by money. They just love seeing founders succeed. Founders, similarly, are not motivated by money. They are motivated by dreams of creating a better world. That's why equity is totally unnecessary for attracting developers, VCs, and entrepreneurs. Everyone just shares equity with everyone else out of generosity.

It would be more accurate to say that no one *successfully* chooses to study computer science just to make money. (Plenty try, but they can't pass even the most introductory classes, and they often end up majoring in "information technology" or some equally pseudo-STEM field.) A person completes a degree in computer science mainly because s/he likes solving problems by writing code. However, having completed the degree, of course money is going to influence which job s/he accepts.

"A person completes a degree in computer science mainly because s/he likes solving problems by writing code"

I don't even agree with this. Computer Science, like pretty much every STEM field, is a big disappointment. The "solving problems with code" part can actually be entertaining, but the kind of interesting problem solving you might see on something like Hackeranker has ZERO to do with real-world IT which is usually boring as fuck and has much more to do with using whatever new framework or whatever is out there to do something mindnumblingly uninteresting.

I enjoyed studying computer science... I found it pleasantly challenging. As for real-world IT, I agree, there are a lot of boring jobs out there. But that wasn't the argument. The argument was that a (presumably significant) fraction of CS students are studying CS because they think they'll make a lot of money. I don't think that's true. I think a lot of people *try* to study CS for that reason, but bomb out pretty quickly. The ones that survive are the ones who enjoy solving problems by writing code.

"You will FAIL as a software developer if you are motivated by money. If you are willing to put in 70-80 hour weeks there are WAY more lucrative professions."

Most programmers work long hours because they are compensated to do so. Very few programmers volunteer to work long weeks without additional pay, just because they enjoy the work. Furthermore, there aren't WAY more lucrative jobs available that have similar skill sets to coding. You're off in the la la land of 'apples to oranges' comparisons.

It's a filtering process. You hire a bunch of people. See who puts in 70 hour weeks just because they like coding, and then pay those people more. You can tell who will make a great coder by who enjoys the "fun" of staying up all night tracking down a bug only to discover that it's a syntax error in a #define buried in an include file.

A better way to put it is that in order to make money as a coder, you have to really enjoy doing it and have a talent for it.
I imagine that for someone who isn't a natural coder, writing code would be mind-numbingly dull and frustrating.
It's not a passion profession, precisely, it's a talent profession.

You can make really good money doing it, but not everyone has the talent. You work 70 hours weeks because you enjoy debugging, not because you think that doing so will make people pay you more.

> You can make really good money doing it, but not everyone has the talent.

You can make good money doing it, but you will need to switch careers once you are middle-aged and unemployable.

A real coder learns new languages continually, as needed, so their skills never become obsolete. All programming languages share common features, the differences are mostly syntax. If you have to take a class to learn a new language instead of just picking it up on the job, don't be a programmer.

Just the latest article of many on this topic.

"You will FAIL as a software developer if you are motivated by money" -- nonsense, or maybe you are playing words with "FAIL".

What do you mean by "FAIL"?

I meant to say "just for the money" or "mostly for the money". Programming is a hobbyist "profession", if you're mostly interested in making money there are tonnes of far, far more lucrative career tracks. A lot of people becoming programmers either because they're major nerds who are programming hobbyists so they are just "doing what they love". Alternatively you get a lot of people winding up as programmers because they can't do anything else. They're not idiots or anything but they just didn't get the right credentials to have a real career (like going to a good law school, MBA program, etc.) so they have no real skills and end up being programmers. The ones who get paid decently high are the hobbyists though.
With a programming career you need to be constantly doing programming - not just at work but you are expected to have ongoing side-projects that you work on constantly after your paid work day is done. Basically you should not really take much time away from the computer - ever. A person isn't going to go far in this job without a deep passion for programming. This isn't the same as being say an actuary which is generally far better paid and you need to pass exams but after that no one expects that you spend you free time doing actuary side-projects for fun. Programming is for hobbyists who want to "do what they love" and is not a serious career for most otherwise talented people.

Sorry, I should have clarified. The quoted section isn't left wing, but a lot of the rest of that article qualifies. For example:

"It’s an oft-overlooked fact that Silicon Valley doesn’t care about software engineers — We really worship the Venture Capitalists. Programming is for chumps, which is why we give 74% of software jobs to immigrants. If you’re a Venture Capitalist, the last thing you want is for your child to go into wage slavery. I think that constitutes some sort of dynastic regression.

The most important tech skill, then, isn’t computers or engineering — It’s the art of getting paid to control vast amounts of money. Then you can make programmers build out whatever dumb ideas you like. Parents who want their daughters to succeed in Silicon Valley need not worry about teaching their girls to code: Teach them about capitalism instead."

Quote is 100% accurate. Not left or right wing just reality. Coding is for chumps.

Not everyone can be a master.

That's probably the biggest left-wing fallacy. Overthrow the ruling class and everyone can be their own master.

Nope. You just get a different set of masters.

You can have one main master, your employer, whom you solely sell your time and effort. Or you can dozens, thousands, millions of master to whom you sell the output you created on spec with your time and effort. They first is 'secure' until they no longer need you. The latter is less fragile as you have many customers and should always be trying to get more.

"If you don't own the tool you are using, you can be obsoleted and put out of a job."

Right. Passion vs duty.

5. By domesticating cats we turned them into cold-blooded murderers ( By domesticating birds we are shortening their beaks. A shortening also occurred when men were domesticated, which turned them into angry Republicans who hate women for pointing out the shortening.

Properly domesticated men learn to use words to manipulate others rather than do actual work. It's this ingrained tendency to argue for feelings over facts that leads them to become lawyers.

That article made me love cats even more.
There's something exquisitely charming about being adorable, AND a cold blooded murderer.

The ancestors of our housecats were all agrarian pacifists? Who knew?

the ancestors of cats killed to eat. modern cats living under domestication instead kill for fun.

“A shortening also occurred when men were domesticated, which turned them into angry Republicans who hate women for pointing out the shortening.”

— What shortening are you talking about?
— when in prehistory did this shortening take place? 500,000 BCE? 200,000?
— Are you implying genitalia shortened? Speak for yourself!
— not a Trumpist, but closer to being a Republican than I am to Hillary. And I have no problem with women, a number of whom I consider close friends (as does my wife). Am I unique?

It's rayward. He's projecting again.

Often overlooked is the effect bird feeders have on squirrels. I had several bird feeders at my house, the kind designed to be squirrel proof. They aren't. Squirrel proof that is. Sure, the latest version may be squirrel proof, but those little tree rats combine an ability to learn with perseverance to foil the best-designed squirrel proof feeder. The effect on the squirrels is to make them much smarter and place them much higher on the evolutionary scale. I foresee a day not far off when squirrels have human proof bird feeders, but I don't expect humans to be up to the challenge, lacking as they do in both ability to learn and perseverance.

You need to spend more time watching Rick and Morty.

Squirrel-proof feeders are easy: spring-loaded doors on the openings.

#1) Looking at equity investment can be deceptive due to human capital. Young workers invest their human capital into firms and immediately trade much of their equity for a stream of fixed payments called wages. A large fraction of young people's wealth is in the form of human capital rather than financial capital. Thus, the percentage of their total wealth (human plus financial capital) invested in equities is much lower than the percentage of financial capital invested in equities. Older people have little or no human capital so the difference between percentage of total wealth vs. percentage of financial capital is small. When neglecting human capital, young people's investment in equities is over-estimated relative to old people's.

America's inexplicable infatuation with Sillicon Valley's conman malefactors of greath wealth aside, why does it have to be code? Why not teach Math and Physics (really well, I mean)? Is the child in a hurry to make her first million before she is 12 and make partner before 18? I am pretty there are non-coding STEM jobs around, too.

"The second mistake is in allowing your child to believe that a career should be fulfilling and fun. The do-what-you-love mythology has led thousands of students to load up on debt for a degree in what amounts to a hobby.

"Work isn’t fun. If work was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t pay you to do it."

Is it possible, that notwithstanding, different people may have different work preferences ?

"Don’t get me wrong; my current job is great. But it took many years of crap jobs to get here.”
So are your boss and colleagues, right? Otherwise, it would be ackward.

1. Does this suggest that all of Tyler's complacent class great stagnation stuff is really just observing the demographics of aging Boomers?

I think this has always been a part of the Great Stagnation hypothesis. However, I think the implication is that the "Great Stagnation" is not such an apt name for this phenomenon.

Agreed. Though, I agree with Benny Lava, that the demographics of aging Boomers is probably the dominant, if not the sole explanation for the "Great Stagnation". I believe that it's a combination of picking the low hanging fruit of innovation for the last several hundred year and the rapid slow down in growth of the First World population.

The reference finds a positive correlation between average national age and willingness to take risks, but ...

Rising average age occurs because people live longer, but mostly it occurs because birth rates have dropped- precipitously, in some countries. The obvious inference is that older people are more risk-averse, but the correlation could also be produced by a link between childlessness and aversion to risk.

At least it seems plausible that those without children might be less interested in the future beyond their lifetimes, and thus less willing to risk the present for the possibility of a better future.

#2 "More confusing still, is that the people screaming most loudly about getting girls to code are not themselves coders."

Not that surprising, most of the people screaming about 'good manufacturing jobs' do not and have never worked in a factory of any kind. I suspect that the people screaming the loudest are the least likely to know what the fuck they are talking about. Those who can, do, those who cant, tell other people what they should be doing i guess.

"Not that surprising, most of the people screaming about ‘good manufacturing jobs’ do not and have never worked in a factory of any kind."

LOL, this is certainly true. Just because you've once toured a plant and understand the theory of mass production doesn't make you an expert on manufacturing jobs.

" I suspect that the people screaming the loudest are the least likely to know what the fuck they are talking about"

Amen. People talk either more or louder to make up for the lack of intelligent content.

3. From the abstract: "conscientiousness is therefore not always good for well-being."

Not proven, and probably not true. That conscientious people experience unemployment more negatively undoubtedly spurs them to get a new job more quickly. They therefore probably spend less time in the unhappy state than unconscientious people, even though they experience the unhappiness more deeply while there.

+1, a good point

It begs the question: should they be prescribed anti-depressants? If so is it for being depressed, or for being depressed because they're conscientious? If the latter are we prescribing anti-depressants to people because they are conscientious?

Math is the tool that builds the modern world. We can’t predict which kids will do the building, so every kid is given a tool.

Teaching math is also important because it’s hard. And kids need to be trained to overcome things that are hard.

Making things easy to learn is defeating one of the purposes of learning.

A bit blunt, but...right.

Perhaps the only thing we can really teach to kids is to face and solve problems.

1. All else being equal, older people will be more risk averse than younger people, I can accept that. But all else is not equal. Younger people will have less money to invest in the first place, if you have 10,000$ in savings, you know you might need it for an unexpected expense and so will be less likely to gamble with it, whereas 100,000$ in savings will be a considerable amount even if the market tanks. Furthermore, young people will be more likely to consume their money rather than save and invest("risk") it. If you are living in a nursing home, you're less likely to spend your money on a fancy car to impress women or karate lessons for your kid.

#2 - the whole "your kids must code!" tripe seems hilariously backwards-thinking for a supposedly progressive place like SV. I'm sure in the 60s there were articles saying that if your kids can't operate IBM punchcards they'll never have a job.

As pointed out above, a lot of this pressure is coming from people who are anxious to see coders' wages taken down a peg or two.

Have they run out of Indians?! So that's what America has become: a Dickensian place where girls have become the reserve army of labour used to depress the wages of American workers. Soon, American boys will take the place of Pinkerton strikebreakers.

"Have they run out of Indians?!"

No there are still limits on the number of Indians you can import H1B visa limits. And subcontracting to India is fraught with low quality output.

But there are plenty of hard core globalist types (both on the Right and Left, but more so on the Right), who would love to drastically raise the number of H1B Visa applications per year. Which would inevitably lead to a decline in the wages of software programmers.

So that's it. The American worker can be sacrificed upon the altar of the Almighty Dollar

There are times I worry a little bit about US programmers being overpaid. I even think maybe we should increase the number of visas to raise our IT competitiveness. But then I think about how outrageously overpaid the other occupations in the US are and decide I might as well enjoy the (temporary) fruits of protectionism for as long as they last.

If coders had the same protections as lawyers and doctors, they would be pulling in closer to $500k/year.

But because coders and engineers are losers they won't get those protections and I can almost guarantee there will be a massive flood of H1Bs coming in the next few years. Those programmer salaries are going to go off a cliff.

#2) Most of coding can be summarized by "X = X+1." The rest is commentary.

If I said to you "unsigned int x = -1;" and asked you what I was trying to accomplish, you would have no idea. That is what separates people who understand the syntax from people who know how to code.

what I was trying to accomplish


I'm no programmer but I would say you are attempting to give yourself fellatio.

4. Will the Apple Watch be captured by commercial tie-ins?

My skepticism here is in the assumption that regular exercise will produce significant life extension, as I'd expect it to produce better quality of life, but not necessarily much more quantity.

Although you'd think a life insurance company's actuaries would know their stuff. Unless they're figuring most insureds are bargain hunters, so they'll take the Watch but then fail to qualify for the discount ...

1. How aging makes societies more risk-averse.

This very true but remember the time with the most 20 - 30 adults in the US Post WW2 history is the 1970s. And I think both can be true and very inter-connect:

1) The 1970s had a tremendous amount of creative destruction. Just because the productivity numbers did not start increasing until the late 1980s does not mean there was significant creative destruction.
2) The 1970s had a lot of destruction as well.

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