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Isaac mentioned a book about Cancer in the intro and another book about robots in the news.
We talked quite a lot about the UK general election and alluded to Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe.
We mentioned two stories about drones.
Robots taking jobs that no one wants.
Thanks to Jack Dennahower, Alex, Martin Karlsson, Leigh, Richard and Will for getting in touch.
Isaac sent me an email:
“…when you type up the show notes for the episode, can you put a sentence or two that I said thank you to all the people who wrote in with positive feedback? Thanks buddy.”
If you want to get in contact, you can email me at JoeRessPodcast at Gmail.
6 thoughts on “JoeRess Podcast #10”
Entertaining show, guys. Some comments:
The Surface/iPad issue that Isaac mentioned was with the NFL. Microsoft paid the NFL to have the coaches use Surfaces instead of clipboards while standing on the sidelines during games and the TV announcers were referring to them as iPads.
A drone is just a vehicle that can move through some route (possibly to reach a desination or possibly to perform a task like farming or surveying) without human feedback, so it is possible for quadcopters to be drones. The delivery drones that Amazon and other companies are supposedly working on (but that just seem like a marketing scheme to me) are quadcopters. The ones that kill people in the Middle East look like planes though.
I don’t know anything about British politics, but Joe’s comments about UKIP having a mixture of reasonable and xenophobic policies makes some sense to me. I would guess that their perspective is that it would be nice to offer strong social welfare systems to support the less fortunate but that any system like that will be weighed down poor immigrants coming to take advantage of it unless immigration policy is strengthened at the same time. We have a similar interplay in the US where our immigration system is pretty dysfunctional with a lot of illegal immigrants providing valuable labor to the economy. Our conservative politicians want to reform the system but only after our borders are made extremely secure, so that any immigration policy change that rewards current illegal residents does not encourage a new wave of illegal immigration. We are at an impasse because our moderate politicians doubt that the conservatives will really follow through on reforming immigration if they get the border security they want first.
Regarding the NSA vs. Google, many people have made the point (maybe I saw it first from Bruce Schneier, or was it RMS?) that it is not really a choice. With the way the agencies currently operate, any data that company like Google has, the NSA, FBI, etc. can also access and can do so without your knowledge, though how much this power is used is not clear to me. My main fear from our surveillance state is that knowledge is power and these public/private data collecting entities are gathering a lot of knowledge. Their expressed mission statements are benign but times can change and power can corrupt. Google is mainly an advertising business and to me it is a slippery slope from advertising to targeted advertising to profiling and from there to selling information to credit agencies, insurance companies, etc. The NSA is similar — their practices might be fine if they always stuck to their expression mission of protecting the country, but the point has been made that Hitler and Stalin would love to have the capabilities that the NSA now has. Even without an extreme government, with so little public oversight, it seems like it would not be hard for a rogue actor to frame someone they didn’t like, or for a less scrupulous Snowden to leak compromising documents about people he wanted to harm.
I listen to a lot of podcasts but none of them stand out as anything to recommend (they would all be near the top of the results if you searched for their topics; here are a few any way: Programming Throwdown, ABC’s The Science Show; KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center). For books, Catch-22 and The Crying of Lot 49 are a couple classics for the tinfoil hat crowd.
Also, Isaac, do you have any good Python or general programming book recommendations? I have been using Python a lot recently, but all of my learning is from a tutorial series on YouTube and reading the documentation on python.org. When I search for how to do something, I often see code referred to as “Pythonic”. I think I have absorbed a lot of these Pythonisms but I don’t know if I’d gain more understanding of how to write good Python code if I read a comprehensive overview.
As far as Python goes, check out Coursera’s Python course they offer. I have put a link to the class below. It starts on May 22nd and is taught by a couple of professors from Rice University. I have taken that course before, but failed to complete it due to work getting in the way. But I will be taking it again when it starts back up in a few days. The course is very hands-on and is really good. Now the course does kinda pick up the pace pretty quickly, but if you have been doing Python before, you should be good to go.
As far as “general programming books” that’s kinda a toss up. I guess the best question to ask you would be what languages are you most interested in learning and also what kind of programming/development are you looking to focus upon?
Will, feel free to send me an email about any programming/coding questions you may have. icarter1391@gmail
One other topic you guys touched that I thought I’d give a few thoughts — transparency with the Linux Luddites donations. I agree with Joe that there is no obligation for any kind of fund allocation disclosure. However, I think it’s possible that such a disclosure might be beneficial. My impression is that currently enough donations are made to pay for the hosting/bandwidth to support the show and it doesn’t seem like you are desperate for more funds. So listeners probably don’t feel much urgency to donate. If listeners saw how much funds were coming in vs. how much was going out to support the show (plus doing special things like buying hardware to test or paying for trips to conventions), they might feel more of a pull to donate if it seemed like the funds would be put to good use. I’m not saying this would definitely be the case, but it is the argument I see for disclosing the numbers (maybe the numbers would just show that you had sufficient funding and then wouldn’t help incentivize people to donate).
Joe, one other thing I just remembered I meant to respond to — I honestly didn’t notice the editing of the MintCast episode before you mentioned it on this podcast (I had listened to about 3/4 of it before switching to this podcast before going back and finishing it).