Star Trek vs real life

In Star Trek: Crew member explains plausible plan, captain listens thoughtfully and says “make it so”.

In software: Developer explains plausible plan, boss listens thoughtfully and kicks off a three day long email thread trying to change it all.

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Objective C

At work I now find myself in the surprising position of being an iOS developer (at least for the last two days and foreseeable future). Being a developer is quite strange in that the goalposts move so quickly and so far, and the main point of your job (from your own perspective) is to make sure you are adding the right things to your CV. So far at this job I have built up vast quantities of JavaScript experience, AngularJS, some TypeScript, and C#.NET MVC. This is all good and marketable (except TypeScript which might catch on but for now is a bit irrelevant I think, but I like it and it’s basically JS so it’s not coming at the expense of anything else).
I am not so sure about Objective C because it’s a strange language which is only really used by Apple; nobody else  found a use for it. Apple is trying to replace it with something called Swift, which looks more like JavaScript and less like C on an acid trip. Swift’s main advantage is that it’s not Objective C and on this basis alone, its chances are good. This means my future Objective C skills are likely to be obsolete relatively soon, but I can rationalise this in two ways: 1. I have done enough with C in the past that Objective C as a language is not really a large investment of effort, and 2. The real learning curve is in the Apple specific APIs (Cocoa) which are similar or identical in Swift, therefore most of what I’m learning is not at such high risk of obsolescence.
It is difficult to evaluate how valuable this skill is to me. I think my summary is that I am unlikely to ever field iOS development as my main ‘thing’, so it is valuable in as much as it will come in handy when applying to jobs that list it under the “beneficial but not required” section. So it is not harmful to spend a few months with it, but I don’t want to spend the next 12 months doing nothing but iOS development.
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In the UK it is now banned to produce various forms of pornography including but not limited to anything involving a slap to one’s posterior or a female ejaculating (for some reason male ejaculation is fine).


What in the name of fuck are you thinking? It is a bizarre and perverse form of sadism that we are forced to pay the salaries of people whose job it is to sit around and decide what sort of pornography we can’t watch/create.

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The ongoing child abuse scandal…

We can speculate that the reason that the ongoing child abuse scandal is being so hampered is that there are very powerful people involved who don’t want it made public. For readers not in the UK who may not be aware of this, there has recently been a huge influx of historical child sexual abuse allegations from the 70s and 80s against famous people in both the media and politics. It appears that paedophilia and abuse was rife in those circles.

A dossier of evidence was compiled in the 80s by an MP, which was lost by the then home secretary, as if it was not really important or interesting that senior politicians were deeply involved in child abuse. That a document of such significance could be ‘lost’ is so astounding that it stretches one’s belief.

The current home secretary (Theresa May) re-opened the investigation by appointing head of an inquiry an ex-judge (Baroness Butler-Sloss). As if it wasn’t already ridiculous enough that an inquiry against ‘the establishment’ was being led by an ex judge baroness with a double barrelled surname, Butler-Sloss had to resign (after clinging on as long as possible) because it turned out her (dead) brother was implicated in the whole thing.  So Theresa May then appointed a slightly less establishment lawyer and ex lord mayor of London to lead the inquiry, who then also had to resign because she used to go to dinner parties with some of the people involved. I’m not making this up. There is a point at which you cease to believe that Mrs May is really this incompetent and begin to suspect she might actually be acting maliciously.

We can suppose that the reason the inquiry is being hindered at every point is that the knowledge and evidence of child abuse of senior political figures is extraordinarily valuable information whilst it is kept secret. We already know that while intelligence services have no official political power or influence, they love to collect data, and it’s reasonable to suppose that they keep a lot of secrets on MPs, which would give them a great amount of political power. Therefore it would remove a lot of their bargaining power if the child abuse evidence was made public, as they presumably are aware of a lot of it. Don’t just take my word for it, here’s the ex-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone saying they did the exact same thing against Northern Ireland politicians.

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The best argument against democracy…

This is a comment from a thread on a Financial Times article about the decline in real wages. Unfortunately it’s pay-walled, but it made the observation: the fall in real wages for those aged 18 to 25 has been so extreme, they are now back to levels last seen in 1988. Ouch.

As I grow old, I will keep working in order to invest and provide for my daughters and their future families. My parents did this for me. Their parents did this for them. ….  Why should someone steal what I want to pass to my family to give to others? Wealth sharing is theft. What I earn, I want to retain for my family, to give them choices.

In a thread about wage suppression, he is against wealth redistribution because his parents were able to support him. The whole point here is that your earning potential is lower than that of your parents when they were your age, and therefore your ability to support your children is less than your parents’ ability to support you. You aren’t giving your family choices, you are sitting in a system which is gradually removing yours and their choices because you have a misguided (and very American) notion that if you work hard everything will be OK, despite all evidence to the contrary.

I consider the person above to be both selfish and immensely, dangerously stupid. I am no less selfish, but I have completely the opposite view. I want to see basic income introduced into the UK even though it would be funded from my taxes. I want to it to be technically unnecessary to work, because I do not want my salary to be suppressed by  people who are willing to work for peanuts. I want to see desperate, vulnerable people well supported by the state so they do not drive down working and living conditions.
Unfortunately it will never happen because too much of the electorate is composed of people who will so easily vote against their own interests, like the person above. Too many people will not consider the wider implications of such a policy and instead go straight into daily mail reader mode of “WHAT, YOU MEAN THEY’RE GETTING SOMETHING FOR FREE?!”. For a well educated country, most of us are not very smart.

The same user has also posted this:  “actually, the immigration result of today is more about the education system of 1990 to 2000. Any manager or employer will tell you that the reason the Polish (general term) are now INDISPENSABLE is because half the Brits you see turn up for interview/assessment are unemployable donuts.”

Whenever you see the statement “we can’t employ British people, they are useless, that’s why we hire foreigners”, you always must qualify it with “at the wages we are willing to pay”. This is exactly why we have wage suppression!  If your candidates are unemployable donuts [sic], that means you need to pay more money. This is what encourages a healthy economy. Since I can’t say “my wages are a bit rubbish, I’ll just import more employers from richer countries”, why can employers say “my candidates are a bit rubbish, I’ll just import more employees from poorer countries”?

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The ed problem

Towards the start of the second world war the allies wanted to assassinate Hitler because it seemed like it would strike an important blow against the nazis. Later on, they gave up that idea because he was making lots of mistakes and they realised that while he was doing everything wrong, it prevented someone else from coming in and doing everything right. Hiter became an asset to his foes and a liability to his allies because he was incompetent; a fact which was not lost on the nazis as they themselves attempted to assassinate him.

This unfortunate situation is no doubt one with which Ed Miliband will sympathise. Unfortunately, however, while Labour desperately needs to replace Ed, the right time to do it was 12 months ago, and it will involve a huge amount of risk in backing relative unknowns as none of the established figures are up to the job,

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Interesting article talking about the divide between older and younger employees, and the fact that younger and more motivated employees tend to move around a lot.

The basic message is that people with ambitions don’t stay in one place for long. That seems true, but I am surprised it omits what I would regard as the most obvious supplementary reasons:

1. Age affects your sense of time. Young people get bored of jobs faster partly because for them time passes slower. My first job lasted 7 months and it felt like an eternity. Now, only a few years later, 7 months seems like quite a while, but definitely a finite timespan (I dread to think how short it’ll feel when I’m 40).

2. Younger people usually accumulate market value faster than their employer gives them pay rises, and hopping jobs every few years is an easy way to gain a substantial jump in salary. Since older people often express bafflement towards the idea of switching jobs frequently I guess that in the past companies used to review salaries more effectively, but now it seems like you are doing yourself a disservice by staying in one place for a long time because your employer is likely screwing you out of money. I have now been at my job for a bit over two years and the gap between what I’m earning and what I’m seeing in all the recruitment spam I receive is growing and growing. I expect to get a 5% increase next year, or a 30% increase by switching jobs. Hmm, tough choice.

3. Younger people are typically the ones actually producing the tangible work and older people tend to be in management (some generalising there). Bad management is more common than good and comes in many, many forms ranging from direct aggression to obstruction (obstructive managers who don’t know when to get out of the way are very common, probably because they mistakenly believe that their job is to produce emails rather than to deliver a project). The nature of the manager will determine the exact effect it has on you, but the end result is that you are more motivated to leave.

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