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Odder's profile

I'm a 24 year old eternal student. I never want to stop learning. I'm interested in physics, math, philosophy, psychology, education, and literature. I'm optimistic about the world and the future.

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Can't argue with it's caffeine content, though. Maybe the taste is acquired, in the same way it is for arabica? Or maybe we'll see weaker, lighter roast coffee with robusta? I've had light roast robusta before. It's not so bad, so long as you aren't too tied to the idea of sleeping.

Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Did you celebrate today?

Nah but I've been really tired all day and I wore a knit cap to work because my hair was shit so people probably just assumed I did.

    tuberculosis and polio really suck.

Yeah, you could make the argument that, even though vaccines totally don't cause autism or whatever topical disease of the month, they would still be totally worth it if they did.

Eh, probably most of "the 1%" were born into the 5%, at the least. Hell, let's say for argument's sake all of the 1% had parents in the 5%. It's probably true enough anyway. We live in a world that is a bit too capitalist, where rich parents can guarantee that their children have far more advantages and opportunities.

But that's completely irrelevant to the fact that the person who was born into the bottom 20% who works hard might be able to not worry about their kids also being born into the bottom 20%. Whether or not they are better off than a lazy rich kid is just numbers. It really doesn't matter whether people who didn't work as hard as you are better off: what's certainly more important is not being poor.

We live in a shit world that has far less social mobility than it ought to. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't teach children that hard work is valuable. It actually means that hard work is even more important, because the stakes are considerably higher. If you live in an ideal world with high social mobility, not working hard only hurts you, but in our world, it hurts your children and grandchildren, too.

    Worst of all is the guy who comes out on top and does nothing, though he sees many glaring problems. That's a lot of guys.

Aw. That's not fair. I meant worse off economically, not morally worse. I've found that people at every economic level can bitch and moan about their own problems rather than solving them, and that those people generally don't do as well as the people who focus on solving their problems. That's the same whether your problem is "getting into Harvard" or "not getting evicted from your apartment."

I'm pretty sure all but the very far left of social scientists acknowledge that hard work is a factor in success. Economic background might be a bigger factor, but we only can improve our lives through factors we can control, and if the left has decided that all we can do is sit around and whine about how other people have more money than us then I quit the left, because that means it's become even more delusional than the right.

Yeah, we as a society do need to fix our education problem. But we won't do that by telling kids not to work hard, but by trying to examine why hard work doesn't lead to success, and maybe encouraging those who are in positions of power to do something. It's a damned hard problem, though, and we're better off not actively making the situation worse by telling poor children that hard work is pointless just because they'll probably never be millionaires.

And I'd say it's not actively lying to not tell children about economic factors in success. It's paralyzing and terrifying enough to realize as an adult that a large amount of success is due to privilege and/or dumb luck. But since those aren't factors that we can control, they're just distractions when we want to teach people how to succeed.

Statistics are basically meaningless in this case. No single person is a statistic. Some people who work hard succeed. Most people who work hard are, at the very least, better off than those who do not work hard. And the guy who sits around blaming society for his problems is always worse off than the guy who actually does something about his problems. Because it doesn't really matter whose fault the problems are when you're the one who has to deal with them.

Unless the statistics really do say that people who work hard are just as well off economically and psychologically as people who sit around complaining, and that economic factors are the only determinant of success and happiness. In that case, it's a waste of time to teach children about hard work, and we're better off sitting around reading Marx or whatever. But in every other case, it's stupid not to encourage children to improve the one small factor of their life that they do control.

I guess we should instead tell children that hard work is a waste of time and that the only people who are successful are those who are rich or lucky. That will definitely improve outcomes.

Bummer. Though, I guess if I can live for 93 more years on a diet of chicken, eggs and brandy, life won't be so bad.

    Her life not only spanned three centuries but also survived an abusive marriage, the loss of her only son, two World Wars and more than 90 Italian governments.


Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Typing the Technical Interview

Yeah, except for most languages, you don't really have to learn how they work, or how data structures work in general, to write working code. Your average programmer doesn't have any formal background in computer science, so recursion itself is a difficult enough concept to manage, let alone any of that other weird stuff. And code shouldn't be clever, because it makes it harder to debug. I don't think I've ever seen a "non-clever" implementation of something in Haskell.

It's not that Haskell is bad, but it certainly isn't practical, or useful outside of academia. And the whole job interview thing as contrast/backdrop is funny, partially because the point of a job interview isn't just to show off what you know, but how well you can work with others. A person writing code that no one else at the company could understand wouldn't be doing their job very well.

But in its defense, Haskell is pretty cool, partially because it looks like it was written by space aliens.

Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Typing the Technical Interview

Haskell's cool and all, but man, it's too easy to hate on Haskell. It's the programming language that requires a PhD to understand, but no decent code in the world requires a PhD to write.

Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: CATS - an informal guide

This is a design feature of cats for me. If my little stinker didn't wake me up early on the weekends by lying on my feet, I'd sleep in too much, not make coffee in time, and wake up with a caffeine withdrawal headache.

Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 100 years ago today: America enters WWI

    How would the war have ended if America had not intervened? The carnage might have continued for another year or two until citizens in the warring nations, who were already protesting the endless sacrifices required, forced their leaders to reach a settlement.

Or the war could have dragged out another decade, bankrupted all the major European nations, and caused the rise of communism/fascism in even more countries. Or maybe everyone in Europe would still be fighting each other rather than arguing over trade rights and interest rates. It's dumb to talk about what might have happened differently with any degree of certainty, and a professor of history should probably know better.

Personally, I'm not a fan of this style of essay anyway. It's disingenuous to act like you're just presenting the facts of history, and that all of the facts just so happen to align with your own viewpoint. There's probably a good discussion to be had over whether or not it was worth sacrificing the lives of American citizens in a European war, whether the shady things the Germans were doing justified a US military response, whether economic justifications for entering a war are ever acceptable, or whether war can ever improve a situation, but there isn't any of that here.

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