Ben Langhinrichs

October, 2004
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Fri 15 Oct 2004, 12:52 PM
For those who follow such shenanigans, the Member Spotlight over at Notes.NetLDD, developerWorks (phew!) has gone out.  There are still links on the Gold Forum to the page where it used to appear, and you can still futilely nominate people, but it appears that the spotlight is officially under a bushel.  

Let us have a stirring tribute to what was and is no more, dedicated to all, but especially to File Save and Joe Nelson, who were clearly sick to death of my photo on the Member Spotlight for so long:

You've grown accustomed to my face
From February through October
You've grown accustomed to the space that was filled up with my face
My quotes, my posts, the advice, even the boasts
Are second nature to you now
Like breathing out and breathing in
You were serenely independent and content before we met
And no doubt with time you'll all too soon forget
Being accustomed to my face
 

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 15 Oct 2004, 12:00 PM
Someone in the Gold Forum posted a link to an article entitled Endangered specials: US Programmers from the Christian Science Monitor, which I have long thought of as one of the more intelligent and thoughtful newspapers, but which I have not read much in recent years.   I have a problem with the premise partly because it sounds like thinly veiled racism (or culturalism, perhaps) to draw this line so clearly between "US programmers" and "foreign H-1B" workers.  In particular, the following paragraph seems to suggest that US programming jobs aren't disappearing so much as being taken up by new people:
Although computer-related jobs in the United States increased by 27,000 between 2001 and 2003, about 180,000 new foreign H-1B workers in the computer area entered the nation, calculates John Miano, an expert with the Programmers Guild, a professional society. "This suggests any gain of jobs have been taken by H-1B workers," he says.
Now, it is possible that there are problems with the H-1B visa program, but look at the paragraph lower down:
The average wage for an American programmer runs about $60,000, says John Bauman, who set up the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. Employers pay H-1Bs an average $53,000.
.  The wage difference is not so large that I think it poises a fundamental problem, the way a $25/hour being replaced by a $0.75/hour worker in a third world country does.  The H-1B workers may be a bit cheaper, but at 88%, their wage differential is less than the wage differential between women and men (usually quoted as 73% these days), so I don't think the competition should drive US programmers out of work as much as into a lower tax bracket.  That may be serious, but it does not an "endangered species" make.

Any thoughts?

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 15 Oct 2004, 10:06 AM
I guess I am constantly amazed at what people, and especially the media, consider outrageous.  Dick Cheney talks about his lesbian daughter in a debate, and yet the papers are all in an uproar that John Kerry mentioned that same fact, even though he did it in a sensitive, polite manner.  Yet there is much less outrage over George Bush's direct denial of his previous outrageous comments about Osama Bin Laden.  Watch these two clips (in various formats for your convenience):
Windows media broadband video here, Windows media dialup, Real video broadband, Real video dialup.

I'm not even as appalled that Bush would forget what he said earlier as that he doesn't see how obviously this is not an exaggeration, and also obviously not a matter to joke about and score cheap political points with.  He could have answered totally seriously and said, rightly or wrongly, that Osama Bin Laden has been marginalized, but this is no joking, smirking, laugh a minute matter.  I really wish that President Bush would treat this seriously, and that it would cause even a tiny bit of outrage when he does not and then derides John Kerry about it.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.