Relative Importance in IT survey

James Hall is asking IT professionals to take a short survey to collect some information on relative importance of various aspects of your position. It is a purely anonymous survey, and is comprised of four properties within which you must allot ten points to represent how big a slice of your responsibilities each property represents.

Do you work in IT? We would like to update last year’s Relative Importance in IT study. Please help us by responding to a few simple questions in this survey. The survey should take less than 5 minutes of your time. We’ll post a new analysis in May, based on the updated results. Thanks!

If you have a moment to spare, and want to add your input to this survey, I’d strongly encourage you click this link. And then click a few appropriate items. And then the submit button.

S E Cupp is wrong about so many things… this time, equality

You folks might remember S. E. Cupp as FOX News’ token atheist, who claims to be godless but “doesn’t hate God”. You might remember her as Sarah Cupp, who I’m guessing doesn’t like to be called Sarah because she bears more than a passing resemblance to Sarah Palin both in politics and in appearance.

Now, you have a new reason to remember her: she thinks achieving gender or racial equality in places like the Secret Service is “quota mongering” and therefore wrong. Considering the nature of the current Secret Service scandal, stemming as it does from a monoculture of men evidently steeped in their gender roles, this strikes me as amazingly tone-deaf. But if there’s anything S E Cupp excels at, it’s ignoring all situational nuance. She IS a Conservative after all.

Seriously, were these guys the “best for the job”, if they’re incapable of doing the job because they’re too busy employing then not paying prostitutes their fair wages? I’d bet having a woman in that security detail might have precluded that kind of nonsense. Or made the woman the target of their toxic masculinity, I suppose. But at least then that woman would have recourse from her abuse! (And yes, obtaining consent under false pretenses is abuse — more specifically, rape.)

Besides all this, where’s she getting the idea that women trying to eke out a living in Colombia by trading sex for money are somehow morally wrong, ignoring even the very real possibility that they’re not doing it voluntarily? That kind of anti-sex rhetoric is the stuff we feminists get routinely accused of, and it sure as hell shouldn’t fly when that rhetoric comes from anti-feminists either.

Hat tip to Mediaite.

CISPA marches onward with precious little fanfare or opposition

What happens when the government wants to fire a salvo in the copyright war that will, as a function of its broadside, accidentally break the foundation of the internet? Everyone gets upset, from the common folk to the mass media — because, see, everyone uses the internet. Thus, SOPA and PIPA died.

What happens when a whole lot of companies and a whole lot of House representatives want to push a bill that serves as another (more stealthy) salvo in that same copyright war, which indemnifies companies against being sued for any privacy violation that happens when the government demands personal information about customers without a warrant, allowing a completely legal totalitarian Big Brother state that extends far beyond the borders of the state in question? Apparently nothing — because, see, evidently nobody gives a shit about privacy.
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Canada’s new dinosaur quarter

So, every once in a while, we Canadians do something kinda awesome. I know, I usually only cover Canada’s monumental fuck-ups under Harper, but I need to give props for the little niceties included in efforts like our current revamp of our monetary system — including new polymer notes and the elimination of the penny. The big news in this case is that Pachyrhinosaurus lakusai of Alberta is getting its very own quarter. Considering everything else under the sun has had its own quarter, it’s about time we started putting dinosaurs on our legal tender! Especially dinosaurs named after Canadian science teacher Al Lakusta, and which were themselves apparently native to Alberta. Canadian dinosaurs!

Okay, sure, it’s from the province that’s created the Wildrose Party, for those absurdist performance artists (that’s what they are, right?) who believe the CPC, despite its recent takeover by the former Reform Party, just isn’t conservative enough! But you gotta take your wins where they come.

Included in this initiative is some new tech that creates an image that will not rub off, seen previously on our poppy quarters, which will be used to imprint these coins with images of the dinosaur with glow-in-the-dark skeletons. That’s right, this line of specialty quarters will have glow-in-the-dark dinosaur skeletons. If one crosses my sweaty palms, despite its thirty dollar price tag, it’s going straight into a drawer and will not see the light of day except to charge its glow-in-the-dark ink.

Jen of Blag Hag actually beat me to this. For shame, I know.

Fischer: “Capitalism is based on Jesus’ teachings”

I had no idea the prosperity gospel was based on anything but wishful thinking. Bryan Fischer teaches me otherwise! See, in Mark, Jesus said that his death SERVED humanity, ergo the capitalist principle of “the customer is always right!” Or something.

Of course, he also said “sell all your possessions and buy a sword”, but hey.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. It’s pretty much a perfect source for ridiculous conservative whargarbl.

Richard Carrier is my new favorite Bible scholar.

For a very long time, I had considered Bart Ehrman to be the foremost Bible scholar, especially as pertains the question of an historical Jesus. I thought Ehrman’s position, that it’s impossible to separate the historical man from the mythological parts, and therefore completely unnecessary, to be the most nuanced and all-encompassing position to take. His disdain for mythicists like the guys behind the terrible movie Zeitgeist (the one perpetuating the amythological myth, to coin a phrase, that Mithras was a virgin birth who was killed and resurrected) was well founded, and therefore he was the first guy I would turn to, if ever anyone asked me about the existence of Jesus as a real person.

Not any more. Richard Carrier, fellow FtBer, just tore apart Ehrman’s latest book Did Jesus Exist? for being a sloppily researched and off-the-cuff rebuttal of the “Jesus is nothing but myth” crowd, with such a poor understanding of the original texts, that I’m almost embarassed for Ehrman.

But I cannot recommend books that are so full of errors that they will badly mislead and miseducate the reader, and that commit so many mistakes that I have to substantially and extensively correct them. Did Jesus Exist? ultimately misinforms more than it informs, and that actually makes it worse than bad. Like the worst of mythicist literature, you will come away after reading it with more false information in your head than true, and that makes my job as a historian harder, because now I have to fix everything he screwed up. This is why I don’t recommend anyone ever read bad mythicist literature, because it will only fill your head with nonsense that I will have to work harder to correct. Ehrman’s book ironically does much the same thing. Therefore, it officially sucks.

This makes me want to read Proving History quite a bit. I realize that this is essentially a pissing contest between two Bible scholars, and that as someone only slightly interested in Bible history I don’t have a lot of skin in the game, so I might find the book dry or otherwise difficult to get through. But when I see someone for whom I had held such a high opinion get royally and rightly smacked down for terrible research, I can’t help but rethink my personal pantheon of atheist scholars.

Stop CISPA. NOW. It goes to vote MONDAY.

Here’s an infographic that explains succinctly why this matters. Facebook supports this bill, and has evidently been stripping links to information about CISPA from people’s messages.

Total internet surveillance, without legal recourse. Facebook and other big tech companies are supporting giving information to the government without warrants, so that when they cooperate with the government they can’t be held accountable to the users whose privacy they violated.

If this goes down, my Facebook account will be purged of everything I can purge, and will go dark permanently. Not that it’ll matter, because if the law is passed, using any server geolocated in the US is tantamount to saying “yes, US government, you can have all my personal information.”

Stephanie has some form letters you could use to rally your congresscritters against this nonsense.
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Meet the new internet power grab, same as the old one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I cordially introduce you to the new Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Mike Rogers (R-MI).

I suspect that in name and in deed, it will remind you a great deal of SOPA and PIPA, the two bills we barely defeated by shutting down half the internet in protest. Only, see, this one is actually WORSE. If you can even believe it.

So, say the government thought you were discussing a cybersecurity threat or IP theft — such as illegal file sharing somehow related to cybersecurity — on Facebook. The bill would not force Facebook to hand you over to the feds, yet CISPA does make it so that Facebook will be completely unrestricted (say, by your rights) to cooperate with Homeland Security to the fullest extent.

The so-called “cybersecurity bill” lets the US government into any online communication if it believes there is reason to suspect cyber crime, or a threat of intellectual property theft. The bill defines “cybersecurity systems” and “cyber threat information” as anything related to protecting networks from:

‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or ‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

“Cybersecurity” is not actually defined in the bill.

Emphasis mine. And if I could make it blink, I would.
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The new coder culture: “Brogrammers”

A few days ago, Neil McAllister of Fatal Exception covered the age and gender disparity in the software development world, and it sounds strikingly similar to stories about the science research world, video gaming communities, the various atheist communities online, and hell, even the “Brony” community. Apparently, a sort of generalized culture has emerged within a number of software development companies where programmers act like fraternity brothers, and pretty well the only ones who can get and stay in their positions are young males willing to binge-drink. Everyone else experiences the sort of chilly climate we’ve discussed in those aforementioned, more proximate cultures.

Some say the problem is our education system. Schools and colleges should be doing more to encourage girls and young women to explore computing. Right now that’s not happening. Overall enrollment in university computer science programs is up 10 percent from last year, but enrollment among women is down.

Others say companies should provide the encouragement. Some companies already are; Etsy, for example, is offering $50,000 in grants to send women to its Hacker School training program in New York City this summer.

That’s admirable, but it falls short of addressing the real problem, which is that software development isn’t just failing to attract women. It’s actively pushing them away. Worse, they’re not the only ones.

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