Updates from November, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 5:13 pm on 30 November 2009 Permalink  

    WRAL reports a context-free statement of how many people died over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    Didn’t we already cover this? Using the figure from that post of 4.6 deaths per day, 12 deaths over a 4 day weekend is again abnormally low.

  • Hober Short 8:55 pm on 28 November 2009 Permalink  

    The North Carolina IANALs specializing in Open Carry (the practice of walking around with a gun obviously on your hip) have had a lot of back-and-forth on the topic of a vague state law declaring the charge of “going armed to the terror of the public”. The fear, among Open Carriers, is that if someone makes a “man with gun” call to the police, they’ll be charged with this vague specter of a law.

    It’s a standing legal issue because the legal principle underlying Open Carry is that if it isn’t illegal, then it must be legal. Thus, there’s a big question mark over whether a cop will actually use this against someone who is otherwise legally open carrying.

    And then some times people do stuff like this and make you glad the law is on the books.

    Police: Man fired gun to ‘terrify’

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh police arrested a man early Saturday after witnesses said he fired a gun in a crowd of people on Tucker Street.

    The arrest warrant for JaDaniel Christorf McLaughlin, 23, of 4700-I Capital Club Court, says that he stepped from his car and fired a 9 millimeter handgun “in the middle of a large group of people for the purpose of terrifying others.”

    McLaughlin faces charges of going armed to the terror of the public and discharging a firearm within city limits.

  • Hober Short 7:51 pm on 25 November 2009 Permalink  

    New post up over at my blog about people fleeing Wikipedia. Turns out, jerks are still jerks on the internet. More here.

  • Hober Short 2:56 pm on 25 November 2009 Permalink  

    Slashdot has another link to the perennial “Are kids getting Computer Science degrees so they can make video games?” article, this time talking about how colleges are trying to make CS curricula more gaming-friendly.

    A few points, in no particular order:

    • My decision to go to school for CS was partially based on good grades and fun times in high school computer science, and partially based on liking video games. Now in my Junior year, I know that I won’t be making video games when I graduate and that’s okay with me. That disillusionment is key. If my college kept stringing me along and making me think that all programming was video games. . .
    • The video games industry is one of the most taxing careers out there. It has all of the “there are 100 people lined up outside my door who want your job” of Hollywood added to the “I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday” of the corporate world. Making games isn’t just work. It’s long, hard work.
    • There’s a video game development club at NC State. The first meeting had about 50-60 people, 80% of whom “liked video games and wanted to see how they were made”. Everyone else had serious programming experience and were interested in actually making the games themselves. Subsequent meetings have been smaller-scale.
    • Every time this question comes up, I think back to when the question came up back in 2006, specifically the comment left by John Carmack, co-founder of id Games and experienced game-making boot-strapper:

      Game programs have been somewhat useful for finding employees, but we don’t actually think that the students are learning particularly valuable skills in the programs.

      A CS or EE degree will almost certainly serve you better throughout your life than a game/media degree, but if getting into the industry immediately is your overriding concern, a game program will help with contacts and opportunities.

      Exceptional merit will eventually be noticed (perhaps not as quickly as you would like, though), and a degree of any sort is not required if you can conclusively demonstrate that you will contribute great value to a company. However, many entry level positions are filled based on people’s opinions about potential, and honest assessments from faculty that work with lots of students does carry some weight.

      The best advice is “be amazing”, but “diligent and experienced” counts for quite a bit.

    Pretty much.

    Reflecting on the whole business, the best thing to do would probably have a game development course at the high school level. Let kids see how much work it is to make games (much less fun games) and then see if they still want to spend their tuition money.

  • Hober Short 2:11 pm on 24 November 2009 Permalink  

    Elon University just published the results of a phone survey conducted last week asking people about political corruption. Obligatory links to WRAL summary and raw data.

    They ask relatively few questions, but the answers are pretty much what we would hope.

    I notice there’s no “All the time” option on this one:

    Although the patriotism here might be a little blind:

    Probably my favorite part of the whole survey, though, is that, on the question “At which level of government, if any, do you feel corruption is most present: the federal, state, or local level?”, 70 of the 563 respondents skipped the choices and volunteered the answer, “All of them.”

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 1:21 pm on 21 November 2009 Permalink  

    Yep. I continue to be amazed that anybody with the Cary town government thinks that this controversy can possibly end well for them.

    The best-case scenario — from their perspective — is that they fine the guy until he loses his house (which he’s already said he’s willing to do). They “win,” but meanwhile Cary is revealed to be the totalitarian police state its detractors have long called it.

    Worst-case, they lose the First Amendment lawsuit, which would invalidate their sign ordinance and completely undermine whatever point it is they think they’re making.

    Either way, I don’t see how any elected official could possibly see this as a good career move.

  • Hober Short 5:59 pm on 20 November 2009 Permalink  

    The Town of Cary finally decided to start fining the fellow who painted “Screwed By The Town of Cary” on his house. His response? A lawsuit on the grounds of the First Amendment.

    Pass the popcorn.

  • Hober Short 5:53 pm on 19 November 2009 Permalink  

    The Post Office is going to stop delivering mail addressed to the “North Pole” to North Pole, Alaska where there is (apparently) an annual volunteer effort to respond to these letters. Why? It’s for the children.

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 11:36 am on 18 November 2009 Permalink  

    To state the obvious, sounds like it’s time to consider shutting down the whole yearbook thing. I mean, really, is it worth all the work and expense to produce something that so few students even care about?

    I didn’t see the point of a college yearbook at USC back in the ’80s — at least not at a major state university, where most of the student body consists of complete strangers. Today, with Facebook and other such online resources, I’d say it’s time to call it a day.

  • Hober Short 6:24 pm on 17 November 2009 Permalink  

    Last month there was some talk about the NC State yearbook’s program to give all seniors a free yearbook. Well, it turns out that there’s a catch: you only get one free if you have your picture taken for the yearbook.

    Apparently interest in being in the yearbook is flagging such that they have to bribe people (with fee money) just to sit for a picture.

    And for contrast, the yearbook Editor-in-Chief says they’re planning on printing 1,000 copies of the yearbook, for the school population of 33,819 grads and undergrads. Hot stuff.

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