I think this is a fairly important question that every society needs to ask itself.
Now that change can occur at the societal level from one rogue camera and one hasty YouTube upload, it’s pretty challenging maintaining some semblance of order or integrity in our society’s cultural growth/evolution. Add in the media coverage, and of course, the peoples’ desires for their vindications, and it’s like every swing at the cultural level either kicks like a mule or doesn’t happen at all, with respect to which way we’re growing.
To make things worse, people WITH convictions often reinforce their position regardless of the evidence provided, and for those without, it’s almost a crap shoot determined at birth which way they’ll swing after new evidence is provided via viral media.
Consider all the things you see in ‘debate’ tactics, which has somehow become the de facto arena of intellectualism. We see it all the time as ‘guest commentators’ on the news, or podcast interviews. It seems to be the way to change minds (or at least entertain for that sweet sweet ad revenue) by the media.
It’s the game of ‘fact escalation’. Who has the biggest facts, and who can spit them out the fastest and catch their opponent off guard? Sometimes it’ll escalate slowly, because one party is actually interested in saying, ‘Oh interesting, I never heard about that. Could you tell me more?’ in which case listening occurs and a transfer of information is the result. In rare cases, no escalation occurs at all, and both parties walk away with new information.
But that’s not entertaining. So it’ll usually go something like this:
It’s pretty fucking stupid. There is no profound insight here, no mutual understanding, no progression of beliefs or positions, least of all for the viewer. Both parties have nothing at stake by winning or losing, and so long as both parties get their $$$, who gives a shit? There’s no carrot or stick here. There is no incentive for evolving one’s beliefs.
So, to directly address that, if we want to induce cultural changes in a certain direction, increase the magnitude of outcomes when decisions are made.
In other words, people need to have skin in the game. And one might argue that it is government’s job to ensure people feel the pain of making bad decisions moreso than feeling good about making good decisions - winning only reinforces a strategy, but losing will make you reevaluate everything (if you’re not broken).
Similar to finding truth, people often stop digging the moment they find it. Which is problematic, because we know there can be multiple truths (sometimes contradictory!), and the world is a complex place. And just like that in the modern world, people tend to cling onto their morsel of truth that the rest their axioms and cultural beliefs on.
So penalize them for not having enough information, or having the wrong information. If this is true:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” - Upton Sinclair
Then make sure they pay if they are wrong. Here are some simple things we can do:
It’s a fun game - let’s give everyone exactly what they want in the most direct and open way possible. We will see who truly has any convictions, and who is willing to change and mold to the way of the world.
After all, the fundamental entitlement that prevents personal change (and thus societal cultural change), is something much more primordial, and needs to be addressed if we want our world to change. And that is: we are not entitled to our beliefs being shielded from the realities of the world. Reality was here before you, and it reserves the right to curb stomp anything it pleases.
So stop shielding people. Let them pay the consequences for their beliefs, and society will change naturally towards a better optima.
I think it’s fucking retarded.
I’m a grunt. I did two tours in Iraq, spent more time outside the wire than inside, didn’t shower for three months, burnt human shit, stood guard at 3AM in the fucking desert freezing my balls off, and came back with a severe case of alcoholism and anger because people I knew died while I was there and I didn’t get so much as a chance to shoot at some piece of shit Al Qaeda fuck. I’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering if I ever truly ‘deserve’ the ‘honor’ and ‘glory’ I seem to get from people who don’t know shit about me.
So you know what would make me feel a lot better? If we DIDN’T put the fucking military on a pedestal, and instead all tried to be approachable and talk about our similarities (and later our differences), rather than whining about how the media ‘depicts’ us or ‘disrespects’ us. I’m getting real tired of the right trying to use me as a political tool and as a molehill for that sweet sweet moral high ground. So let me be the first to say it:
I don’t give a fuck that you served. I give a shit about who you are as a person, where you’ve been (even during the service), and where you’re going. The military should be an organization of quiet professionalism combined with a stoic nature, not a country’s figurative penis.
So, to my dear brother/sister/non-gendered sibling veterans, shut the fuck up, get back to your life that you’ve earned to live free as you want, and go out and do great things. And for those of you running your mouths about veterans being victimized, depicted as X,Y,Z, why don’t you keep that bullshit to yourself, because the rest of us are doing pretty fucking awesome.
And to the poor bastards who are going to ‘volunteer’ for that parade:
lock your knees!
No, it’s not racist.
However, if you consider it to be such a significant component of their culture that it is material in affecting their social, political, and economic status in the U.S. of A., then you need to re-evaluate how you look at the world.
You mean to tell me that the reason why African Americans aren’t reaching the same heights on the ladder that we’re all climbing is because of a heavy beat and some spoken word?
You can scroll up and down and look at all the cases where African Americans have been and still are systematically oppressed by our society today. From cops killing kids and getting away scotch-free to drugs being re-classified to disproportionately affect blacks all the way to the for-profit prisons and their accompany judges, the system has covered incredible breadth in its oppression.
Not to mention everything before the 60’s, but you could look that up in a history book. It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s pretty clear what has been ‘holding them back’.
Which is a shame - some of the darker aspects of rap culture might never have festered into existence if these wounds weren’t constantly being re-opened by society, and then you wouldn’t be asking this question.
The quality of people.
Just to be clear, I served in the infantry (which allowed people with an ASVAB score of 26/100 to join with a waiver), and I joined during the surge (from roughly 170k to 215k at peak active duty Marines), so needless to say, my experiences are likely not the same as others. The bar had been lowered significantly.
It’s not really so much that there were bad people in the Marine Corps. It’s really just that people came from different backgrounds, and more importantly, with different goals. Here’s my rough breakdown on the types of men that join the Marine Corps infantry during wartime:
With that breakdown, I’d like to point out that it isn’t THAT bad. It’s when these elements get combined with the day to day life and the shit that rolls downhill from leadership that makes it really bad. Individually, there’s something to learn from all of them. But it’s a fucking nightmare when interpersonal relationships and politics come into play as well as the jockeying for big dick status.
If the quality of people would have been better, there’s a good chance I would have stayed. I just couldn’t imagine living another four years with leadership that yelled at me for changing the input select for a TV too quickly (this 100% actually happened. I got grilled in front of an O-5 by an E-9 because I selected the HDMI input too quickly and he couldn’t see what was going on), or listen to an Alabama boy tell me he didn’t ‘associate with my kind back home’.
There’s also this persistent question in the back of my head: do we really need this ultra-masculine alpha male big swinging dick attitude to be successful at our mission? I know it’s a really big part of the Marine Corps image and culture, but really, do we need it? After all, it attracts a certain demographic, and that demographic I can’t imagine being fully effective if 30% of them don’t make it past their first four years.
But I leave that question to wiser men.
I think Google was right.
At the end of the day, Google is a business, not your family home, your friend’s house, or anything in between. A memo like that being leaked to the public and then twisted by the media will obviously lower Google’s rep. They would not be fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility if they knew such a memo would imply certain things about their culture, which in turn would change the expected outcome of their current actions. Firing James Damore was nothing more than a public re-establishment of their (hopefully) perceived culture.
I would do the same.
But, I think a lot of us feel a great shame.
For all the virtues of intellectualism and righteousness we extol, at the end of the day, some guy with some ideas, some scraped together studies, and a coherent message in a nonthreatening polite way with proposed solutions got sacked for voicing his thoughts.
The truth is, people aren’t really willing to entertain what James Damore had to say, so they demonize and shut it out. It’s that same kind of censorship that yielded spectacular results at our last national election (spectacular as in it was a spectacle; I’m not condemning or condoning the event [ this is the kind of disclaimers we have to add these days ]).
I guess it really is easier to hate someone than love them.
A scientist pushes the frontier of human knowledge using the scientific process.
That’s it. Unfortunately, people with different incentives and interests will argue against this. Here’s how you counter the arguments I see the most:
Don’t get me wrong. These are ideals. Egos, and most corrupting of all, money can and will enter the equation.
But if you keep pushing the boundaries using a repeatable, measurable, and well designed experiment that isolates what you’re trying to test as much as possible, you’ll at least have my vote for your scientific endeavors.
Considering how prevalent the idea of abstraction and its accompanying patterns are in the world of software engineering, as well as the roots of computer science (in mathematics), you’d be hard pressed to say ‘no’.
Of course, a substantial part of the programming work force aren’t aware of the above principles and concepts, or apparently can even write FizzBuzz, so factoring that population into the population I think of when you say ‘programmers’, perhaps the answer should be ‘depends on the programmer’.
I remember reading this Wikipedia page circa just joining the fleet. I can’t remember the details, but I do recall what I felt - a certain worry that my dad was right. This world was not like my own, nor was it like the world I wanted it to be.
I only have two contentions with what happened to Pat Tillman - one regarding the honor of the guardians of society, and another regarding my own religious beliefs, or lack thereof. I’ll start with the latter, since it’s less personal (you read that right).
I’m by no means a militant atheist, but let’s just say I annoyed when ‘encouraged’ to worship a god during my time in the service - from the boot camp Sundays all the way to the fleet when I was deployed since, ‘praying was good for my soul’. Frankly, I don’t really give a shit. The good thing about being a flexible atheist is I’ll worship whatever god you want me to worship because it’s all bullshit to me. The moment you start anthropomorphizing a ‘higher power’, you’ve totally lost me. I’ll worship gravity, nuclear power, and physics any day of the week since I don’t try to say that physics has a personal grudge against wearing mixed fabrics. Physics doesn’t care, nor does it has the capacity to care - it just is. Despite that, I also don’t really care if you worship - I mean I still burn incense sticks and pray to my dead ancestors, so I get it.
So the general lack of respect by the military to honor Pat Tillman’s atheism fucking irritates me. If you’re one of those that are something along the lines of, “atheists are the worst apostates of them all” or “atheists have no god, therefore they have no morals”, then how the fuck did this guy who had everything in life - smarts, will, body, love, and a multi million dollar contract - give it all up to fight? It’s so strange to me that being an atheist in the world of space exploration is still a black mark.
Now let’s talk about the real issue: the coverup of friendly fire (or murder?).
I wasn’t there. I didn’t read the official report. I know very little. I literally just read the Wikipedia page. I’ve read it before, but I wanted a refresher before answering. Let’s think of military reasoning:
Let’s talk about what happened:
If all of this is correct, I am not surprised. The military is notorious for covering up a lot of shit, i.e. female sexual harassment, military relationships with industries, lack of accountability with contractors, etc. I witnessed a few ‘cover ups’ myself, and might have partaken in one.
Frankly, military personnel like the enlisted deserve the best, but the officers, especially when they get fat and lazy as they get higher up, deserve harsher punishments. Not military retirement and pension - they deserve a public castration and a return to civilian life in shame with no benefits.
Why so harsh? Because you make decisions that affect thousands of lives. You better do your fucking best, and if we find out otherwise, we’re going to destroy you. If you’re honorable and do what you can, there’s a good chance the tribunal will understand. Enlisted marines ‘police their own’, but somehow the higher up officers - especially around when they start command brigades/regiments - don’t seem to do that.
The military is one of the few societies in the world where ‘honor’ still means something, and rightfully so - I witnessed some men risk their careers for privates and private first classes, and a man who I hated even risked his rank for me once.
So when I see dogshit leadership like this, who have no skin in the game, I can’t help but wonder why nobody was punished the way an enlisted man would have been punished - tossed in the brig and the key thrown away. A Roman decimation should be in order - but only on the officers at that rank and above.
Go see a doctor and ignore what everyone says.
Muscle pain can be okay if it’s sore, but if it’s got a burning/tearing sensation, that’s no bueno. Joint pain is irregular, period. Either way, a quick chat with your primary care provider or a physical therapist should at least educate you on what’s going on so you can mitigate/prevent it.
I think past intro to programming, there’s only three classes you need to take, or self study at your own pace.
Everything else builds off of these foundations.
After you take these courses, you need to grind and build a portfolio. There’s no way around it - theory is one thing but practice is a whole different ballgame. Knowing how a compiler uses recursive descent doesn’t mean shit if you can’t properly compartmentalize frontend view components so they bind/operate properly and cleanly with backend data. Here are my suggested projects to get you well rounded:
After that, grind competitive programming sites e.g. TopCoder or HackerRank… without your computer. You read that right. Get paper and pen, and don’t allow yourself and whiteout or crossing out. Writing code is way harder, and you’ll find that you actually have to think before committing.
You’ll have a pretty solid base after that, and any kid who can take the initiative to do all the above deserves a shot at joining the ranks of high-end tech shop.
Doubt it. A world war = less $$$ for everyone, and whether or not you think he has ties to our ‘enemies’, it would be a losing event for all parties involved.
But he could easily be pulled in. It only takes one asshole with a pistol to assassinate some important guy and spark off hell.
And you’ll strip naked plenty of times after you join too.
It’s a great gig if you’re into that kind of stuff.
I do believe we have become too interconnected to truly wage war like we did in WW2. Wars these days will be by proxy and/or through other means, whether through technology or economics.
But if you’re asking if there will be a conflict that pulls in a third of the world’s peoples before we leave the planet, I’d say it’s pretty damn likely given we have no real means or plans to become a spacefaring species.
You might even argue it’s already started.
Hmm. There’s been a uptick on these ‘alpha male’ questions. Maybe I can put it to rest.
There is no such thing as a human alpha male.
There are people that possess leadership traits, charisma, and maybe even a commanding presence, but even those exist within a context. For example, it’s pretty hard imagining someone being ‘an alpha male’ while they’re taking a shit. It’s hard imagining them being ‘alpha male’ when they’re holding their mom’s hand as she passes from a long bout with lung cancer.
Truth is, life guarantees weakness, not strength, and trying to show (and/or have) strength all the time in all contexts is a weak fool’s errand.
So strive to be a well-rounded person who has the character to surmount their weaknesses. That’s a much more realistic and pragmatic goal than these bro ideals. If you constantly challenge yourself in both breadth and depth, you’ll eventually find that the Youtube/Reddit/4Chan ‘alpha males’ are caricatures of truly strong people.
I was 24 and halfway through my undergraduate when I took CS101. Compared to some of the other students, especially the physics and math ones, I wasn’t that bright. I distinctly remember struggling with the concept of recursion and its use cases.
I’ve never looked back. It’s been five years and I’m proud to say coding and the underlying principles of communicating ideas to an automaton has integrated itself deeply into my character and worldview.
The best part is that it’s also insanely practical. I make a pretty good living, can find a job pretty easily if I’m unemployed, and otherwise have more control over the modern world than others. From writing a Raspberry Pi program to pull my shades up when the spectrometer reads a certain amount of regular light to annotating storytelling to extract stylometrics, I can do it all with the foundations of what I have learned.
However, it’s a hard field. The skill ceiling is very, very high. You need certain personality traits to be really good, e.g. humility and perseverance. You can easily become obsolete within 3–4 years if you focus all your skills into one narrow silo that only some people use. But that’s also why we get paid so well - constant competition.
So, if nothing else, know this: computer science cannot be removed from modern life. Never has a person said, ‘I sorely regret learning computer science; it has turned out to be a completely useless discipline’, but plenty have said, ‘I wish I took a few computer science classes in college’.
I hope you join us - it’s a fraternity of sorts. Modern day wizards if you will :-).
Upa -> Hip escape -> Roll away -> Stand up -> Run.
I was a road guard on a death march to a training exercise and watched people get thermometers shoved up their asses as well as a helicopter pick up someone who was seizing. About 20% of the company had to be put in trucks.
North Carolina’s coast has an interesting climate and geography. When it’s nice, it’s nice. Blue skies, light breeze, relatively flat land, etc. Hiking that is almost like a nature walk.
But on that very same coast, there exists a military town named Jacksonville. Jacksonville has a Marine infestation that has manifested itself into a hive called Camp LeJeune.
Aside from the boring secondary effects of having a Marine infestation, e.g. borderline brothel strip clubs, Golden Corral fist fights, a hilariously high population of divorcees, car bumpers completely covered in crimson and gold, and overly regular collaboration between the local police and the hive’s police (much to both of their disdains), this infestation also yields a particularly malicious curse on the area that has become sort of a physical law of that small universe.
The temperature, humidity, and UV index grows linearly with respect to how much gear any given Marine is carrying at any given time at any given location within the boundaries of Camp LeJeune.
So there we were. We were going to do a 2–3 day exercise in Combat Town, Camp LeJeune, and had started the troop movement by sitting on our packs in full gear, basking in the afternoon and evening sun for about 3 hours. Movement started at 5PM (pardon the parlance), and it was a 12 mile hump (why we call it hump, I have no idea). It wasn’t our choice.
When we finally started getting ready to move, we looked like this:
Turns out sitting in the humid heat under the sun, fully covered, with ~35 pounds of Congressional Bullshit dehydrates the hell out of you. Even though it was a balmy 90F and 70% or so humidity, it felt more like 105F and 90% humidity. Our cammies were soaked, which only retained the heat even more.
We also had to carry this:
Which contained our food, clothes, and whatever else we were mandated to bring, which amounts to another 35 - 40 pounds. Throw in our weapon and kevlar, and most of us were carrying pretty close to 100 pounds of bullshit.
We got in formation. I was a road guard, or in regular vernacular, a damned soul, and had to wear a neon green vest on top of everything I wore. My job was to move ahead of the formation of 200 angry, disgruntled, about to die young men, and stand at each road intersection and prevent cars from driving near us while we moved. I would stand at one intersection at parade rest, wait for the whole formation to pass and then sprint all the way back up to the front and repeat this process.
We finally left the staging area and crossed our line of departure. Let the torture begin. I walked maybe 100 meters before I did my first tour as a road guard. Troops passed, I sprinted back up to the front of formation. Then I did it a second time. I decided after finishing the second sprint that I was going to fall out. This shit was ridiculous. My lungs didn’t feel like they were on fire - they felt like they were molten lava bubbling and consuming any hope of this being an easy hike. My entire body felt like lead, and every step with my gear made me look forward to meeting my maker.
We had humped maybe a mile, when I turned around to look how everyone else was doing.
People were hurting bad.
Humping isn’t quite like any other aspect of physical fitness. A lot of it is mental, more so than any other exercise I think, but a lot of it is also straight up predisposition to dehydration. And looking back at the formation, I knew that some of these guys were about to go down. You can just tell if you do it long enough.
One marine fell out of formation. Yells, screams, people telling him he’s a weak piece of shit, and other words of encouragement. Then another. The infantry in general tries to keep a 4MPH pace- hits 3 miles under an hour, and rests until the beginning of the next hour, then continues at the same pace. If we kept this pace, more people were going to fall out of formation, I thought.
We suddenly changed road guard procedure. Road guards now always stayed in front, and the platoon behind would send up a replacement, and then the platoon after him would send up a replacement, as each respective platoon passed the road guard. This made my life significantly easier. I no longer had to sprint the length of the formation, I only had to sprint one platoon’s length.
Immediately after this new procedure was barked to us, another one was barked to the next platoon. We were to slow the pace. It didn’t help. People were still falling out. More screaming, yelling. One guy got put in the humvee that follows us for falling too far behind.
By the time we reached the 3mi marker and at our designated rest spot, a dozen or so guys had fallen out, and most of them were in the humvee. It had taken us the full hour. People sat down, drank water, and got yelled out.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been extremely resilient to dehydration and humid heat. Maybe it’s my Vietnamese heritage. I sat up with the road guards, and our leader was a Corporal who had fought in Fallujah. He was a real hardass, and I remember his disgust.
“These weak bitches wouldn’t have lasted a day in Fallujah”, or something to that effect. He was derisive that they couldn’t hump in the heat, because Iraq would be a lot worse. Then he sang slight praise for the road guards because we started with the sprints.
I glowed just a little. Feels nice to know a person who had fought in the worst fighting since Hue, Vietnam thought you were somewhat Marine material. But then I turned my head and watched a friend of mine start seizing up.
He was maybe 20 meters away with first platoon. His vest was open, he was leaning back on his pack, and his arms just went limp, his eyes rolled back, and he started shaking. Before I could say anything, someone else screamed, “Corpsman!”
I’ve seen someone go blind in a chow hall in Parris Island from dehydration. His pupils became super dilated, and he couldn’t see. It was like his optic nerve just decided to say, “Nah I’m going AWOL”. But I had never seen someone seize before. There was a flurry of activity around him.
I surveyed the rest of the company. A lot of people looked like they had passed out. Several guys had their armor taken completely off, and were having their ‘temperature’ taken to see if they were having a heat stroke.
For whatever sick/homoerotic reason, Marine Corp Grunts have a fascination with having things shoved up their ass. Whether it’s the metaphorical “green willie” or less metaphorical “Uncle Sam”, the “silver bullet” was the most concrete, and consisted of a corpsman shoving a silver cylinder up your ass to take your core temperature. Why this is considered the safest, effective, and efficient means of doing so, I will never understand, but that is what happened that day. Young men being sodomized by medical instruments by other young men who didn’t bother containing their glee to practice their trade of object-in-ass shoving.
The NCOs who weren’t fatigued or dying were making a show running around and shaming everyone who was and below their rank. Iraq would be too tough on us, we were all gonna die, blah blah blah, we were the XBox generation, blah blah blah. The ones that were fatigued and dying did the same thing, just muted because they were going to pass out at any given moment.
The ’15 minute’ break lasted an hour. A helicopter was called in for my friend. Trucks were dispatched from the motor pool, and a shit ton of people and their gear got loaded up in two trucks.
The next 9 miles were a joke. What was supposed to be a 4 hour hump turned into 6 hours, and road guard was easy so long as the platoons after us replaced us as they passed. Maybe it was the night temperature, or maybe the first 3 mile leg wiped out the weak ones, but the next 9 miles were uneventful.
The thing about humping is that you need to go away to your special place in your head. Go autopilot, if you will. Acknowledge the agony and slow torture, but acknowledge you have no choice and this is what the universe wills. It lessens the pain, trust me. The Fallujah vet constantly comparing us to the other four platoons helped too. 90% of what he said was saying how we weren’t ready and the other 10% was saying how the 8 of us were the best out of the four platoons.
Statistically improbable, but I’ll take it.
I’d come back if at least one of the following conditions were true:
The truth is, I’m soft. I’m a sensitive person, and I’m in the process of nurturing traits I’ve been ignoring most of my life, if not outright deriding, like kindness, and patience, and faith in others.
I can fight, hand to hand, and feel very comfortable doing so, but I’ve never had the full experience of a field of fire and people screaming orders over the booms of artillery and gunfire. It’s a different world entirely, and I’m not sure older me could handle it. I’d reflect too much and desire a dream too far where I can exist in a cycle of slumber, eating, reading, writing, coding, and learning.
But it’s a different story when there are enemies at my gate. If New York City was somehow invaded, you can bet I’d be part of the resistance. My father is a peace-loving Buddhist, and I asked him what he would do if someone launched an offensive on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Even he would pick up a gun - the very same man who refuses to keep guns in the house. I would be a shame to my family if I didn’t fight.
It’d also be a different story of the world truly needed me to fight. If Pakistan succumbs to some warmongering extremist and starts sending out nukes left and right, threatening pretty much everyone on the planet, yeah I’d join up again. I’m sure it would be a coalition of the world’s nations, and I’d gladly be part of that.
I don’t see either scenario happening in my lifetime. I think the threat of civil war is much more realistic. I don’t know what I would do there. I don’t think anyone ever does.
You can, but that’s irrelevant.
Your worth isn’t defined by your grades - it’s defined by what you can produce. Learn to produce things for other people (and yourself, if it interests you), and once you have some semblance of pride in your ability to work and deliver, revisit this question.
You might find that you’re much more capable than the impression you put on in the description.
Make our justice systems bipolar with respect to how it treats the convicted.
Minor crimes, drug offenses, even larceny, are largely things that can be rehabilitated out of an individual. Crimes that have a large effect whether by volume or by magnitude, e.g. embezzling pension funds, corruption from a governing position, rape, or 1st degree murder, all result in death or indentured servitude for life. No more sitting around in prison, we’re going to put your ass to work or we’re going to take you out back and put a 9mm in the back of the head.
It’s important to note this isn’t a cry for revenge: this is us excising a tumor from the body of man. We should do it dispassionately and pay attention to what caused a person to become this so that we may prevent it in future generations. In fact, we should spend more efforts understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ that gave rise to this person, rather than focusing on how to kill them, because killing people isn’t a cure. It’s triage for an emergency wound. Learning how to prevent the situation in the first place requires more work but creates much longer value for us as a species.
Stretch your neck seven days a week.
Those headaches aren’t from rolling hard unless they come with nausea/dry heaving. Those headaches are tension headaches, and are a result of overly tight neck muscles that have over exerted themselves.
Muscles to hit:
Levator scapulae - Ear to shoulder
Occipitals - Self massage using a lacrosse ball
Upper trapezius - Chin tuck to shoulder
If you don’t do the above:
Your muscles will remain tight, which in turn causes peripheral muscles to be in a constant state of exertion to maintain balance and control. Your rhomboids, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi and serratus muscles will all be victim to this. Eventually, during a particularly intense roll where someone is cranking your neck, something will pop and then seize up. It is agonizing.
Then you’ll spend $500 on an MRI and find out that your muscles have become so tight that you have four herniated discs in your cervical spine. If you continue being bad, your upper back and neck muscles will sieze up doing completely benign things, like walking up a hill or even while you’re asleep.
Source and accreditation:
All of the above happened to me.
Stop reading about coding.
The world of computer science is as wide as it is deep, and to say that it is a vast world is somewhat of an understatement. The systems we use to developing this ‘science’ of computers is deeply related to how we develop a framework to view reality, given how deeply embedded logic is in Computer Science. Consequently, sometimes it just feels pointless.
So take a break. Read some fiction, write some poetry, go out, have fun, and when (not if) the day comes that you want to use your skills to build something, computer science will be waiting for you.
Of course, maintain your grades, but spend as much time as you can out in the sun.
When meeting someone that has social credentials (i.e. my friends or society approves of this person), I go straight for the meat.
I ask questions like, “What do you hate about yourself the most?” or “I give you enough money to never worry about it again - what do you do?”. Small talk is no an option with me, unless I don’t care about you.
Some of the questions are fun, some aren’t, and more often than not, people are turned off by my upfront attitude about my interest in who they are. I’d say about 60% of the time they don’t want to play after three or four questions, and I leave an overall negative impression. The other 40% bond much faster with me, and even if we don’t see each other in 2–7 years, we’re still friends without question.
It’s unfortunate that I’m either classified as “intrusive” or “intense”, but life is too short for bullshit - I’d rather get to know the person deeply ASAP. If they deny me the request, bummer! At least I tried.
The Marine Corps certainly changed mine.
When I joined, I was much more egotistical (like most teenagers), and consequently, more focused on aligning myself with the pantheon of the greats. For a lot of people, childhood is about fitting in, and because I couldn’t fit in very well, I always wanted to stand out. Scoring high on my SATs as a big “fuck you” to my peers and enlisting in the Marine Corps infantry (with an ASVAB requirement of 31 when I had a 99) was my way of standing out.
I also wanted to commit the single act that permanently severed your connection with humanity: killing. Or at least, that’s what books, movies, and other media have led me to believe. Side note: this kind of mythologizing is exactly why books like Atlas Shrugged are so popular among our young. It appeals to your belief that you are greater. And what better way to start than to harden your heart towards the suffering of the ‘weak’?
Iraq: Part One planted a seed in my heart that would grow it in a very different direction than expected.
Before I go into that, I’d like to talk about my parents and specifically my mom.
My parents are political/war refugees. They fled Vietnam a few years after the fall of Saigon. One of my uncles was lost at sea attempting to escape. My parents are also very ‘Buddhist’, as in they both practice the cultural aspects that have been merged into Vietnamese culture as well as the more religious aspects, e.g. meditation, hymn/chants, and of course the philosophies of nonviolence, self-control, and introspection.
Now, growing up, I didn’t really respect that. In fact, I kind of openly mocked it. Which is particularly hurtful, because my mom is the kindest person I know.
Kindness is a value that comes coupled with humility, but one that is rarely ever emphasized in modern education or any self-help book you read. There is of course, the adage that kindness does not imply weakness, but the fact that that adage exists implies the contrary. After all, what kind of value is strong if it can put others and their values over your own?
In all respects, my parents gave me a very nurturing childhood, and when I became a teenage rebel, a lot of room for me to develop my own path. They were just terrified and horrified that the thing that led them to America was the thing that would cause me to leave: War. Violence. Bloodshed. Being soft-hearted was for cowards. Fuck kindness, and fuck compassion, I’m born to kill.
It was very difficult convincing them to sign me up when I was 17. I wouldn’t want to be the parent to sign their kid off to war at their request when you had worked so hard to escape it. But I was young, angry, and eager to make my mark on the world, and in the worst way possible.
So off I went.
3/4ths of my training was learning fire and maneuver and marksmanship. Box drills, failure to stop drills, hammer pairs, controlled pairs, and 800 yard ACOG shooting. And I was good. I am very proud of my shooting skills, both as the highest pistol shooter in my combat marksmanship classes and one of the highest in pretty much every other marksmanship test during my four years. My infantry skills as a whole were decent, and I would be moved to team leader and for some points of training squad leader during my second tour’s training.
The other quarter was learning that these guys we were going to help police were just like us.
“Joe Mohammed is just on his way to work - you don’t need to slap him around to search his car.”
“Everytime we kill a random civilian is another 2 insurgents popping up to go plant IEDs.”
“The people ARE the center of gravity.”
We did plenty of shoot/no-shoot drills. Plenty of escalation of force drills. And positive identification before firing was hammered into us.
I wasn’t being trained to be an agent of destruction - I was to be a surgical scalpel in helping a people restore their country. “Badassness” needed to be tempered with reasoning and compassion. This training accentuated and nurtured the very attributes I was trying to run from. Coupled with the Marine Corps ethos and the band of brothers attitude I worshiped, I quickly realized I’m actually more like my mom, deep inside. I started to wonder if the day came, would I be able to do it? Would I put myself before others?
Before I deployed, I called my recruiter and asked how he felt. He said it was a matter of survival. I asked a Fallujah veteran the same thing. Survival. I kept that in mind during the first half of my first tour.
Then we got hit, and we lost a few guys in second platoon. Good guys. One guy in particular, I really respected.
Then it was about revenge. That initial bloodlust that young warhounds always seem to radiate came back at full force, and everyone was tense, eager, thirsty. Whatever influenced us to join the infantry came back, and our hearts hardened. We looked forward to the time when we could exercise our purpose: to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.
Fate gave me exactly one chance.
I stood behind an M240B and had it at condition 1, aimed at a truck who had sped in a worrying way past 3 out of 4 of our escalation markers. Whatever eagerness I had was replaced by panic.
I was terrified. But, my only thought was:
“If I don’t kill them, Kinnard and McCullough are going to die.”
My finger was on the trigger before I could stop myself. I was convinced it was an SVBIED, given how fast they had blazed past our escalation markers. If they didn’t blow me up (I was the first guard post), they were going to hit our front gate, and blow that up. I couldn’t, wouldn’t let that happen. I pick my friends over these guys. I was resolute. Fuck these guys.
They slowed down and stopped with their front tires right on marker number 4 - the kill line, marked by tank tracks as a speedbump. I wasn’t sure of their intent, so I couldn’t and shouldn’t fire. Maybe today Joe Mohammed forgot to read the sign that said DO NOT ENTER in Arabic we left at the beginning of our private road. I didn’t want innocent blood on my hands.
And thank God I didn’t shoot - I was investigated by NCIS after this event, along with our company and some of battalion brass, including our JAG.
The FOB jumped on alert when they heard my gunfire, and my team leader jumped up in the guard post with me and did the radio work while I kept my aim in case something happened.
Turns out it was some Iraqi Policemen. The truck was covered in mud, so it was hard to tell who they were. The warning shots weren’t heard, the flare I had tried to fire was damp from the humidity, and my engine block shots missed the truck completely. They reversed, and drove away.
When I got out of the guard post, a lot of people congratulated me. I was shaking like a leaf, and continued to shake for probably half an hour. Whatever reservations my squad had of me, senior or boot alike, were gone. People respected me more after that day.
But none of that mattered.
I had come close as possible to an edge without stepping over it, under the belief either I or my friends were going to die, and I didn’t really consider the horror of having to shoot someone else. I was dispassionate about harming others, but would do it for what I perceived to be the greater good. I’d give myself a self-congratulatory pat on the back, but the whole thing is fucking asinine.
The heart that longed for violence had been tampered with the nurturing of compassion for my enemy, and with it, implicit kindness. The very thing that was considered ‘weakness’ was what enabled me to do my job and push me through my reservations and fear. For the sake of others, I act.
So here I am. Trying to convince others that violence isn’t the way, yet a part of me still loves it, and wishes I killed those two guys in that truck that day. I still like that feeling of completely dominating someone in brazilian jiu-jitsu or boxing, and I like to think of those as outlets for the portion of my heart that is only a few bad days away from going crazy, but there’s a much stronger component my parents left in me, and that’s to care about my fellow man more than I care about myself, and to do the ‘evil’ things of the world dispassionately if there comes a day I must.
I’m grateful that day has never came, and I hope it never will.
Finance is the easiest way to use your intelligence and creativity to make money.
If you’re as smart as you think you are, whether you study economics, political science, or even video games, you should be able to predict within a reasonable time horizon how events in those domains will fare.
And there are vessels for you to profit from that foresight: the kajillion financial instruments out there.
You think the video game population doesn’t need another Diablo reboot and as a consequence analysts will overpredict earnings and sell reports? Short Activision-Blizzard.
You think GPUs are expanding outside of their traditional use? Buy NVDA, AMD, and TSMC. If you’re right, it’ll beat expectations after the new wafers start selling.
Think Venezuela’s economy is going to crash? Short their currency.
Finance is a way for me to act off of the otherwise masturbatory armchair intellectualism that has afflicted myself and a lot of my friends. Talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is.
I don’t think you can stop yourself from feeling guilty.
You had the power to save someone (from themselves). In a sense, it’s a dependency, one that you didn’t want, but a real one nonetheless (in this hypothetical).
But if you believe in human autonomy and human will…you shouldn’t feel guilty.
He made the choice to attach his life to your being at a physical location, not you. With that right comes the responsibility of whatever befalls (no pun intended) him.
Yeah, you’re going to feel guilty (I certainly would), but I think my reasoning would be correct if I walked away and made an effort not to feel guilty.
I would only fight if one of the following conditions were true:
That’s about it. When I was younger, I dreamed of the glory of war, and fantasized about heroic dashes up a hill to attack a pillbox where MG42’s percussive symphony of death murdered my countrymen and instruments of war hailed from the skies and shook heaven and earth.
But that’s not war. War is broken homes, cripples, orphans, dug up plots of land, and years rebuilding with grief and trying to understand how and what the fuck happened. War is the enthused dumbass shitting himself after his big talk about killing the enemy when he hears a gun shoot AT him and not WITH him. War is urban combat where every room either has nothing or a machine gun aimed at the door and you’re out of grenades to find out which. War is a heavy veil of terror that affects everyone except the ones who started it.
And I am grateful everyday I didn’t experience any of that in my service.
This isn’t World War 2. This isn’t good versus evil. Life is fucking complicated. War is complicated. I don’t want to be involved in ANY conflict until I know my facts, and that the democracy of Earth agrees to condemn our opponent. I don’t care about anyone else - I’ll fight if and only if I and an overwhelming majority of the world agrees it is right. And even then, I would do it dispassionately. I’m never going to dehumanize or demonize my enemy, ever again.
Now if someone invaded the US…
I would feel sorry for them. I wouldn’t fight as a trigger puller. I’d be the asshole on their HVT list that they just can’t seem to find (because all asians look alike), who supports the militia to fight by emulating King Henry V:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our American dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
By rewriting many times.
That’s pretty much it. It’s a constant struggle as an artist. Maybe I used too much green in my painting. Maybe I sculpted the neck too large. Unfortunately in those examples, they have to be, as my old art teacher used to say, “art smart”.
We just drag a mouse cursor over, hit backspace, and rewrite. :-).
They can be forged in the humid tropical heat of a quagmire of an island, populated by angry and overzealous parasites that eat away at your soul and test your mettle and discipline as you struggle every day NOT to lose your shit. There are sand fleas too. During this process of constant hammering, a lot of potentially good Marines are broken and thrown back to the beginning of the assembly line, or sometimes discarded completely. Nothing but the best, for the American people.
Or you can pick a few up at the local Walmart in San Diego. They’re usually on discount.
You can completely disregard my answer and all other responses to this question and start being the person you want to be.
To account for people who aren’t about this life, civil service should be a suitable replacement.
The idea that things can be composed of themselves, whether it be processes or mathematical expressions, was nothing short of magical to me. Seeing recursion in action and what it could produce (e.g. algebraic data structures in ML languages, algorithms like quicksort), changed the world for me. I’m now a bit of a recursion-spotter - constantly trying to find instances of recursive things in real life.
It really depends on where you go, and what you sign up for.
Some programs are a ‘professional’ degree that requires only coursework with some predefined amount of breadth and depth.
The (what I consider) ‘real’ MS’s are more thesis/research based, where the goal is to see if you would want to do a PhD (and schools often have a hidden way to elevate from MS to PhD…but it will be just as tough as a regular PhD admissions). What area that research is in depends on the school. Some schools are leaders in machine learning AI, and others in computational biology, and others still in networks or theoretical computer science.
But generally speaking, almost all MS programs in computer science offer a selection of ‘specialties’ for you to dive into after your breadth-focused coursework. Research your school to find out what it offers.
I met a mid 30’s business owner who never programmed in his life. He matriculated into the program after taking some intro courses out of curiosity.
He later singlehandedly implemented a new scheduler into some recent version of the Linux kernel for class.
Oh, and he didn’t learn how to touch type until two months ago.
Nobody cares about what you were, or what you did. The professors, students, and the rest of the academic community only care about what you do now, and where you want to go with an MS in computer science.
Do things that make you nervous, anxious, afraid.
Courage can’t exist without fear. So confront your fears.
There is nothing more ‘out of your comfort zone’ on so many levels than the physiological sort. Your mind will do its best to convince you to quit, while your will drains itself sustaining the kind of effort that makes your body vomit.
I like to call it character building.
We always strive to be more than what we were.
At first, dispassionate interest. Throughout boot camp and school of infantry, we always talked about killing the ‘Mooj’ and ‘Johnny Mohammed’. It was interesting at first, but I grew bored when some of our combat experienced instructors told us tales of cold blooded murder. They had seen their friends/family die from these assholes, and it felt good to kill. I got that. But it gets old.
When I finally arrived in Iraq during my first tour, I felt…scared. For all my desire to hunt and kill, something inside me faltered. I think it might have been the fact that there were those around me who were complete blood thirsty animals, and I wanted to distance myself away from them.
But that passed pretty quickly. My unit did our best to get involved, but alas Ramadi was quiet while we were there, or at least until halfway through.
Then we got hit. People I know died. One man who had stood up for me lost the lower half of his body.
And that’s when the bloodlust kicked in. I became eager to justify murder. We shot stray dogs far far north so that no one would ever know to satiate some of that blood lust, but it wasn’t filling. Talk around the fire pit was centered towards wondering which Iraqi Police station was the most corrupt, and we could fantasize about murdering half those corrupt fuckers.
We left. Blood was not spilled. We were not happy. All that pent up rage, and frustration, leads to bad things at home. For me, it was alcoholism and violence. When we heard we were going to Afghanistan, our training kicked into high gear, and boy were we excited. It was time to kill. Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children were back in action, and it was time to get ours, and the coveted symbol of honor, the only one we cared about.
But at the end of our final training exercise, we switched missions and did a security mission in an air base in the middle of nowhere instead.
I switched to intelligence, went to online college, and was responsible for keeping track of targeting for our area of responsibility.
The reports that came across my desk were disturbing. Stories of child rape, and other vicious acts carried out to as part of murder and intimidation campaigns. Foreign fighters flooding the area to begin their plans as soon as all US Iraq forces consolidated to Ramadi. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was looking at a future cell of ISIS.
We left, and I got out. Then I felt regret. I felt like those four years, I did nothing to my enemy. But the hate disappeared, the rage vanished, the berserk fury and recklessness required for a man to fantasize about wanton slaughter, all gone. I think, wisdom replaced it. And with wisdom, came sadness, bitterness.
Time has passed. I’ve surrounded myself with good people, and learned more about the world. I have nurtured what little wisdom I have, and given it a chance to grow brighter, stronger. And with it comes hope. Just a little, but enough, enough to keep a man warm in the coldness of a world gone mad.
And now I see my true enemy. I have realized that I might have left the desert, but I never left the war.
My enemy is not the Iraqi insurgents. It is not even ISIS.
My enemy is the the mechanism that causes young people to have their minds closed off to the world, and have absolute conviction in their actions to harm others. These young people are the result of their family, friends, and society, or lack thereof.
And I was one of them. I know hate. I know rage. I know what conviction paired with the power of a gun feels like.
If there ever came a day I had to kill my enemy, I would do it dispassionately. Their life is beyond repair, and they are only a cancer to be excised. I would perhaps even feel pity for them.
We are always at war. It is important to remember that all men, good or bad, were at some point, human. And we should never rejoice in the taking of human life.
I’ve never be formally trained in poetry, or anything of that sort.
But poetry to me is condensed writing. It’s as artistic as it gets without technicality, though there are plenty of great poets who make surgical use of how and what they say.
To get started, just write how you feel, in the shortest, purest way possible, whether or not it make sense to other people.
There’s a lot of literature out there regarding how your body reacts to stress. The issue with that lot of literature is that sometimes there are contradictions, disagreements, and opinions masquerading as scientific fact.
So here are things people all agree on:
That’s all I got. Train smart.
Probably wrestling or any of the other grappling arts. The rounds are short, there aren’t that many of them (if you make to the end), and it’s all about one long explosion of energy for less than 10 minutes tops (5 minutes in my case).
You can build your body with this in mind. Lift to get strong, cut body fat to compete at the lowest weight class you can, all the while doing ultra intense bursts of cardio that continue lowering your body fat.
I started on an online university back in 2008, back before MOOC was ever a thing. My education was sub par, to say the least (think University of Phoenix).
I transferred my online school credits to a regular private university.
Then I went to grad school at an Ivy League.
Success isn’t determined by your past. It’s determined by where you want to go, and how badly you want to get there.
A subject is too difficult for you when you no longer enjoy climbing its peaks.
I originally went to grad school with the intention of studying theoretical computer science. I wanted to focus on computational complexity and optimization problems.
But then I took an actual course on computational complexity, and got thoroughly rocked. I have never once in my life lost sleep over school before, until that class.
It was enjoyable in the beginning however. The rush of writing proofs and learning to think abstractly and deal with problems I couldn't physically replicate was exciting, and for a split second, I believed I had it in my to do a PhD in this kind of material.
However, as the semester continued, I learned that it became less and less enjoyable. As time passed, I realized my intrinsic motivation was beginning to falter, and the only thing pushing me hard was not to fail the class. My initial joy became dread, and a forlorn longing for an end. This is not a good way to learn, or really, live.
I passed the class with a B. But by then, it became very apparent to me I was not cut out for theoretical computer science. Not because the material was too hard, but because I was lacking both the discipline and motivation to learn those materials.
Do typewriter overhand pullups.
Theres going to be a lot of discussion on what qualifies as good here.
One approach is to see the world records in the natural league to see the range as per your weight class.
Another might be to see benchmarks of athletes of different sports.
I have a simpler method.
Deadlift 2x your bodyweight.
Because it means you could drag or lift your self out of a burning building.
We can never have enough programmers. It is virtually a requirement for modern living.
But among those programmers, there is (likely) a normal distribution of ability, whether through talent or experience. And we will never have enough highly skilled programmers.
I stood up for a fellow Marine and was betrayed for it.
In the infantry, when you first arrive, you're a boot until after your first deployment. A boot is basically the lowest of the low. It's a lot worse than boot camp, because at boot camp there are rules for your drill instructors to follow. There's a purpose. And they tend to be very professional.
But in the fleet, those rules evaporate. Overzealous combat veterans want to 'train' their new warriors to be tough as nails, vicious as animals, and reliable as family. So what do they do? They train them. Harshly. When a 'senior' Marine who is only 20-21 and given pretty much 100% control over someone else's life, direct or indirect, bad things happen.
We were at
S̶a̶t̶a̶n̶'̶s̶ ̶a̶s̶s̶ ̶c̶r̶a̶c̶k̶ Mojave Viper and had come back from some training regimen. Some of us were hanging out in the giant half-barrels embedded in the cracked dirt, and some people were outside on their phones trying to get reception to call their significant others/family/whatever. I was just minding my own business on my cot and trying to catch a few winks.
Some of the Marines decided to rife through a boot's cell phone. He was out doing something. I don't know what. They found naked pictures of his wife.
I perked up and started listening. At that time, I was too cowardly and unsure what to do about this. On one hand, snitches get stitches. On the other hand, this was too far. This violated so many levels of decency. They were commenting on her 'hairy bush', and it was at that moment that I knew I had to do the right thing.
So our Platoon Sergeant came back, and I asked to talk to him in private. I ratted out half the platoon.
He called out several of his senior Marines. They asked me if I dared call them a liar to their face. I did. The victim boot was called out. They asked him if his wife had a hairy bush, i.e. to confirm that people did indeed rife through his phone. He said it was irrelevant, and if the senior Marines said I was a liar, there was a good chance I was.
I'll never forget that night. In one instant, I became the pariah of the group, and for many months later. I was the 'rat', the 'snitch'. I was assigned to every working party, fucked with nonstop, and my life was miserable. That boot, who I thought was my friend, was a cock sucking piece of shit who just wanted to earn favor with the senior Marines to redeem himself for ratting them out for hazing him when he first got to the fleet. My reputation spread. People said I cried when I first left the main base when I arrived in Iraq. I didn't. I actually fell asleep.
I learned something that night. I learned I had a backbone. I was willing to sacrifice my belief in the brotherhood, my band of brothers, for my ideals. That was the night my identity became my ideals and not the Marine Corps. That was the night I recognized I was willing to die for my beliefs, because I had, in one fell swoop, given up pretty much everything else at that point.
If you were there that night, you can go fuck yourself. I did what was right, and you fucking know it.
What will a degree in CS teach you?
It depends on the degree and where you get it, but it should teach you that:
Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
You want to know what computer science, REALLY is? It's the science of computing. A bit tautological, I know, but here's another way of looking at it: it's a framework for understanding how computers think. Computers are incredibly powerful, and have ushered in a new age for mankind. To say that understanding how they actually work is important is an understatement of the year.
But from a liberal education standpoint, there's another thing that computer science teaches.
Computer science teaches you how YOU think.
You finally have a model to consider how you do things. Baking an apple pie? You're following an algorithm. Going shopping for a new pair of jeans? You might be weighting them by an optimization/cost function, or maybe you're just a min/max list traversal to find the cheapest or most expensive you can find.
More importantly, you're mapping these very thoughts into code, i.e. you are expressing your thoughts in the most succinct, concise, correct way possible.
You won't get much more 'raw' thinking than that, outside of regular human-language writing, but that leaves a lot to be desired due to how important interpretation is. The level of ambiguity is greatly reduced for a computer.
So there you have it. That's what CS taught me anyways - how I think, how I approach problems, and how I solve new ones. There was a period of 2 months where 90% of the code I wrote happened on bar napkins in Buenos Aires because I was musing over algorithm problems on HackerRank.
So what does industry teach you?
Industry teaches you how to do it.
Of course, if you find that you don't understand why things are happening the way they are, you probably won't be able to act on it effectively. And that is why you can learn just as much in industry as you can in a formal education.
But the scope is much narrower - a company is paying you to learn in a certain direction and a certain way.
At the end of the day, whether or not you have a formal education doesn't really matter. Plenty of brilliant computer scientists and/or coders have arisen from nowhere. There is no academic vs. real-life dichotomy here. A truly brilliant computer scientist or engineer is such because of a relentless hunger for knowledge and perfection of their field, and it is a very, very broad field, with new caverns and heights being discovered every other month. The only education that matters is the one you provide yourself, not the one the environment supplies.
Ego. I have never seen a sport where controlling your ego is so essential. Rolling too hard can hurt both parties involved. This especially applies when you're in the game early on. But even when you get your black belt, watching some of the pro matches can show that the distance between a black belt and white belt can be eclipsed by a professional black belt against an amateur competing black belt. To always know the climb never ends, and keep climbing, while constantly pelted with reminders of how little you know... one must stay humble.
Yes. But it's not country versus country anymore. It's ideology versus ideology. In this case, extremist fundamentalism versus modern progress. Insurgencies are popping up everywhere, and being 'radicalized' is the mark of our enemy. It's only going to get worse, as social and economic inequality grows, and our throughput of processing resources dwindles as we run out of natural sources.
Major in both. I did both in my undergrad, and I don't regret it one bit. Learning to do 'business' in undergrad really means, 'learning how to work and socialize with others such that they see you as an ally in the future'. Sure, you MIGHT pick up some hard skills, like accounting, the math and statistics behind financial investment decisions, and the general nomenclature and ideas of business, but the human lessons are much more important. Now add in the hard ideas behind computer science (discrete math, actual programming, thinking in abstraction), and you'll have a strong foundation for any problem imaginable. You'll be able to think in broad strokes (business strategy) but capable of zooming into the tactical level (implementation). You'll be able to explain the sophisticated (abstract) yet can write the nitty gritty (literal code). Specialization of labor is the name of the game, but don't specialize until you're sure it's what you want. By doing both these majors, you'll develop a strong foundation and open many doors (and leave them open for the future), so when you're ready to commit to a field, you'll be highly competitive.
Something that is an 'abstraction' is context free, meaning it applies outside of a 'real' example. Addition is an abstraction. One apple plus one apple is two apples. It could be apples, or oranges, or dogs, or cats, or ideas, or planets. A queue is abstraction. A queue could be a queue of people, places to travel, or nodes on a graph. Classes can be abstractions. They define the core tenets of what a class is, but might not be 'real' until subclassed and implemented (and even used). Layers can be abstractions. Asking for a primitive to be rendered on screen can be context free in discussion, but depending on which graphics rendering library you're using, can be several different things in 'reality'. So, so long as the 'reality' of the situation is hidden from you, and you can still move forward with your ideas, you're working with an abstraction.
For undergrad, anything above a 3.5. Here at Columbia, the average GPA for a SEAS graduate was around 3.3 (as per a 2011 grade statistic leak). GPA is pretty useful, but a better indicator of your usefulness to a tech company is your experience. Side projects will easily make up for a low GPA. As a master's student, I don't even post my GPA on my resume and I get plenty of callbacks.
Note to Reader: Don't hesitate to suggest edits.Mirthlessly hilarious.
I left the USMC for a variety of reasons, one of which was the culture. I clearly wasn't a good fit. To be frank, I was "too" smart. And I was ostracized for it. I remember a certain Lieutenant who somehow got wind of me having the highest ASVAB score in the battalion, and proceeded to call me "135" everywhere he saw me (because that was my GT score), then mocked me whenever I did something wrong, again reiterating my test score for all to hear. Also, I was made fun of a lot because I was Asian. But that didn't really bother me as much, since I called plenty of people niggers, wetbacks, and made jokes about Alabama incest. Still, sometimes it felt like what was being said was more than just a joke. So I left. Turns out the outside world is rife with its own cultural issues too. And I've concluded that there's no real cultural home for me. I'm too much of a brute for the industry that uses brainpower, and I've too much brainpower for the industries that require a brute to kick in doors. Specialization of labor is the name of the game and I'm about as well rounded as a wheel. I guess most people don't experience this kind of range in life. I've played and lived in the quagmire with the derelict of society, and now I've ascended to the highest ivory tower. I've talked and worked with the literal leading scientists of the world. And just 8 years ago I was running around in the desert with a gun, itching to shoot some foreign fighter in the face. I don't talk about my past anymore. These days, I find that people have a hard time reconciling those two images of me. I certainly do. So I just don't tell them. It's not even on my resume. There's just a strange four year gap in my history, where I "traveled" the world (which isn't a lie). But it's surreal. To be in this cultural and intellectual limbo. On one hand, I'm a pacifist. I've seen war. On the other, I understand how sometimes it's a better idea to just drag someone out back and shoot them in the head before they can do more damage. On one hand, I'm an operator, an executor. You need something done? You come talk to me. And on the other, my mind is best used for strategy and design - that's why I love coding. For me, life after the Marine Corps has been a path of constant self-discovery, with the occasional chance to careen off the edge into existential crisis. Or maybe I'm just an anomaly among anomalies. Who knows. But I do know that I don't regret it. Any of it. Not even for a second.
I think Jon Davis's answer is the best one, and here's a bit extra:When I was going through SEPS/TAPS, I was told to complain about everything. Knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain, back pain, ear pain, ringing in ears, anything and everything that I felt, headaches, migraines, floaters in my visions, my junk doesn't function, etc., and they would evaluate my history to determine if I had any service-connected disability. It didn't matter whether or not I was disabled in the most literal sense of the word, it was about whether or not any chronic pain/dysfunction I had was at all exacerbated OR caused by the daily wear and tear of four years of military service. I could have bad knees coming in, and still have bad knees coming out, and I would likely get a disability rating for it because my service made my knees worse.With a system like this in place, it wouldn't surprise me at all if a lot, say, 30-40%, of veterans had some service-connected disability rating.
It depends solely on whether or not you think being accused warrants punishment. Because this is America...hopefully not.
It depends on the ivy, what the state school is, and what department you're in. If you're studying something where brand name is super important, then go with the ivy, and make sure you pitch so much money into your parents' retirement incomes that they'll never once regret paying blood and sweat for your education. If you're studying something that you can make yours, and won't be limited by circumstance, then go with the state school (e.g. sciences, math, physics, computer science, etc.). For a lot of people, who you spend those four years with has a huge impact on who they will later become. If you're not one of those people, then go to your state school and succeed by your own terms.
The cockroaches. They can survive the radiation.
I came back from my first tour in Iraq and noticed my dad had gray hair. Suddenly it wasn't just about me anymore.
Yes. But don't let it stop you from serving your country. You don't need a badge on your arm to know that you're a good citizen.
I haven't read the book, nor the study, but here's a nice summary from an amazon review of the actual book:Killing another human being is not a natural act, contrary to what the movies would have us believe. Grossman argued that only 2% of the troops are natural killers (psychopaths/sociopaths), the others need a variety of support strategies to overcome the feeling of guilt that eventually emerge. ... He shows that the demands of authority, training and conditioning, experience, target attractiveness and group support all come into play before the trigger is pulled.The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society: Amazon.co.uk: Dave Grossman: BooksSo to answer your question, it's unlikely it's psychopathic, considering how few "psychopaths" there actually are in the military.
When I recognized I had only one life to give, it made giving it so much more important to me, and thus easier.
Yes. After my first tour in Iraq, I had been beset with a host of ailments that might have resembled PTSD. There was no P or T though, with the exception of a few pant-shitting moments that had nothing to do with combat, and I believe my out of control emotions were largely a result of leaving the "on" switch on for seven months straight, often without sleep or other luxuries in life. A close friend of mine sent me this book :Trauma and Recovery : The Aftermath of Violence, from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror rev edition, Judith Herman (9780465087303)for some perspective of what I was going through. Long story short, there are a lot of parallels between contextualized versions of PTSD, whether you are a domestic abuse survivor, a rape victim, or a combat veteran. The source of the trauma of course puts its own unique spin on it, but to answer the original question, yes, "civilians" (read: humans) can understand the combat PTSD. As a side-note, this is kind of the root of it all, isn't it? That there is an unspoken wall between "combat veterans" and "civilians", as if we can't share experiences due to a lack of proper understanding because "you weren't there". I don't necessarily disagree with it, but these subconscious projections of barriers don't solve the problem. It comes from both the civilian side, who often puts veterans on a pedestal whether they want to admit it or not, and veterans, who happily assume the position that they have some kind of unique ineffable quality that civilians will never get or understand. Yeah, I get it, experiences and wisdom can't be truly communicated, but refusing to communicate at all has literally never solved any problem on this planet. Ever.
What makes you think modern geopolitical dynamics are similar to that of the time of Greece, Rome, and Britain, such that the US will be "conquered" or "defeated" similar to the way they were?
Edit: Wow, this is the real deal. I apologize for the last half-assed answer that I took semi-seriously. All right, let's do this.If I had to print out one sheet piece of paper to keep everyone alive and fighting, here's what I would put on it:General
In general, game design and creation is a nontrivial task. It requires extensive knowledge of pretty much every domain of computer science, from hardware, to kernel, to operating system, to application, to algorithms and graphics, and that's assuming you designed the game well, which in itself is a feat as an amateur game designer. After all, how many indie games get above a 70 metacritic?Now factor all that into a system you have to physically build from the ground up, with limited space (I'm thinking Raspberry Pi), with resource costs (as you'll have to buy multiple Raspberry Pi's and components to assemble), and then shipping costs. It's doable, but is it easy to do well, with just you or a small team? Doubtful.
No. Philosophy is something that will take you an entire lifetime to scratch the surface of. Read it on your own time, and let it be the permanent sustenance for your mind. In the mean time, party and have "the college experience", and use it as a stepping stone to secure your financial/economic future...so you can study philosophy :-)
Off the top of my head, same as the US government (it's all I know), with the following changes:
Directly? None. And that's both how you become one, and why.
Teach. Nothing more rewarding or difficult.
IEDs are improvised because they are made of literally anything that isn't traditionally a munition or meant to be a destructive device or used with a destructive device. For example, using melted plastic packed with gravel on top of a homemade plastique in a metal bucket that's tilted over and aimed at a road. When the charge detonates, the plastic pretty much melts instantly and spews out gravel. To the casual observer it just looks like an empty metal tin leaned over on its side. Or, using small metal strips as a pressure detector: Tape two metal strips together at various points using electrical tape so that they don't have contact until someone steps on it and makes the metal touch, which completes a circuit and detonates a charge somewhere (often roads). Or, using a standard oven clock or even a laundromat timer attached to a battery and charge. Standard time bomb.TL;DR: Improvised means that the explosive device will contain anything that the perpetrator can snag from the environment to enhance its effectiveness or make it effective in the first place. From using screws from abandoned factories to stripping CAT5 cable for wiring, a half-decent bomb maker will use whats at hand to create a weapon.
To explore the human experience in both breadth and depth, and at the same time, try to leave the world a better place than I found it.
We're only killing ourselves.
"A man should be upright, not be kept upright." -Marcus Aurelius
I think there are a lot of ways. Here are some general avenues that can be applied everywhere, and I hope they will be in the future.Prior to the act of teaching:
Learning how to absorb recoil with your hand, arm, shoulder, abs, and/or legs, or if none of those, probably your face.
We (attempt to?) define ourselves (causa sui).
Duty. We, who have the luxury of reading this from the comforts of an air-conditioned room while munching air from a bag of Lays chips, should not take our great fortune of being born in such marvelous times, in an opportune land, to a family that most likely did not destroy us for granted. We have a great responsibility, and that is to move the world forward, until there exists a day when human suffering is a choice and not forced from bad luck of the draw, and when all humans (and if you like animals, sentient life) should have the same magnitude and breadth of opportunities as we do today. Any day we do not take a full step towards that goal is a failure of duty and a blemish on our honor.
The same thing you did when they told you they were opposed premarital sex.
Hell no. If anything, it just shows your maturity and understanding of what you think is really important. If people like emotionless sex, good for them, but I haven't met anyone that has found love and wanted to go back to emotionless sex. Have you?
Naivety and stupidity isn't always an affliction that lasts forever. Just think of the seemingly afflicted as having a different background, in a different phase of life, or not as lucky as you are. So guide said people and hope that they'll reach a place in life that will yield a more bountiful relationship with you. Or not. In which case you might not be making the best of a bad situation, which, in my viewpoint, might mean you're naive and/or stupid. It's contextually dependent.
You usually have all your serialized gear on you at all times, and often have the numbers memorized. There's also different distinguishing features, like which rail attachments are on, small pieces of cord, etc. But yes, it does matter. In the Corps, losing serialized gear is a big no-no.
"Do you ever listen to people?" -the only girl that ever dumped me. Needless to say, I now try to minimize my judgement and preconceived notions. The world has gained ever so slightly more clarity since I learned how and when to shut the fuck up.
We both seek solace from our shared cosmic nightmares: death, the unknown, and the slow decay of our symbolic self. And that common goal has been, currently is, and always will be, one of our strongest human connections. So let's stop pretending we're different at our most fundamental and existential level. We can get through it together.
A very, very, very small proportion. I recall reading somewhere, I think by SLA Marshall (a WW2 historian), that of the 25% of the armed forces during the Korean war that fired their weapons, only 10% of them were in direct combat, and of that 10%, only 1% reported enjoying the experience. That's unreliable though, so here's a link that mentions some of the more modern work:Psychology of KillingIt doesn't mention any explicit number, but it is implied that very few people even think of enjoying the experience.
A yearning for my soul to be complete.
I was with 1/8 in '07-'08 and '09 (though that second one doesn't count as a deployment). When I was a boot, I was trained under Fallujah vets. Here's how I can tell if someone is faking their combat or infantry experience:They talk about it and make themselves look good.Seriously, it's not glorious. Sure, I like to brag I've kicked in doors and cleared rooms, but the only time it was "fun" was when nothing was happening, i.e. training. Yeah, I can put a 5.56 in a person from 500 yards (5 time rifle expert and Combat Marksmanship Coach) with standard iron sights, and yeah, I can administer combat lifesaving techniques if you having a sucking chest wound. I can strip and reassemble a M4 or a M16 blindfolded. Blah blah blah. Bunch of crap anyone can pay some cash to learn or buy one of the army manuals and read themselves. But I have never, ever, ever met a combat vet who openly spoke of what he did over there, unless he was surrounded by his combat brothers or future military (infantry) kids who needed to know what was coming ahead. And believe me, it's never a joyous occasion. It was either catharsis and therapy, or a warning to the future generation of warriors. Some of my friends have done and seen things that I am uncomfortable imagining, let alone sharing. I was fortunate. My only "real" deployment was uneventful (for me). In a way, there's a bit of survivor guilt. The "real" vets suffered a burden (and it's always a burden) that many of us could never comprehend. And to speak of that burden lightly, or worse, to fake it, is nothing but a reprehensible act.
"Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back."
-Marcus AureliusI am going to die, and all of my actions, my history, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my intentions, and everything that was ever me will become dust and vanish with the sands of time. The idea that changed it all, that turned cynicism and pessimism into hope, was that the single greatest thing I could do was to accept death, and then live in spite of it. Everyone likes to say "live like it's your last day". This often gets misconstrued into an excuse for hedonism and debauchery. But that's cowardly, isn't it? To waste your last 24 hours doing something that only feels good as opposed to being good? To surrender to the insurmountable, and let it dictate what you do?This is the definition of weakness in my code, the stoic code, and any warrior code. To bend to our own mortality, our own fragility, or our own transience is nothing short of abandoning what it means to be human. Instead, we should view death as our motivator, our source of strength, and the bastion of our will. Our actions should no longer be restrained by our own mortal coil. Rather they should be done with unlimited ambition and with fervent and maybe even fanatical conviction. Because we're going to die anyways, what are we holding back for?
Possible?It's been done, over and over again. See: MUDOne legend, KaVir, the owner/creator of God Wars, has written over 2 million lines of code SOLO, from the ground up, for God Wars 2. But MUDs are a bygone genre... It's much harder for graphical games to make it solo.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Some novel ideas, but naive, and arguably dangerous (see Tea Party). I feel like that book specifically targets young people, when we think we are smart, strong, invulnerable, and infallible.
Not even close. The actual battlefield is easy. Training kicks in. What you don't experience is the training, the hazing, the being the guy on the bottom of the totem pole. You don't feel the sweat, the grime, the agony of your muscles giving out, but you have to keep going. You don't witness the grown warriors sobbing on the phone in a box in the desert because their wife is leaving them and taking the dog. The same guy who five hours ago was yelling at you to keep formation and stay alert is now crying like a child who lost his mother. You don't see the moments after you get home when you visit a friend in the hospital and both his legs are gone. You wonder what he is going to do after this. Then you realize it's better you don't. You don't see the guy who came back from Afghanistan and had to pick up the pieces of his buddy because they didn't bring body bags for whatever reason. His wife pops bubble wrap while he's asleep and he freaks out, draws a gun, and points it at her. You don't fall victim to the ineptness of the bureaucracy, the politicizing of every action you take, the balancing act on the razor-edge that is standard operating procedure and you can't fall off because doing so either gets people killed or lands you an NJP, court martial, or prison. You don't feel the alienation when you come back home. Sure, everybody nods, gives you your space, realize you did something noble, but it sure as hell doesn't feel noble. It just feels like the world kept moving when you were gone, and nobody stayed back to wait for you. Finally, you feel that deep, deep sorrow. It persists for years after you're done. Every time you pick up a newspaper and find out that the place you were in just turned worse, and more people are dying. You wonder if you ever did anything. If you ever truly "served" anything but political and likely business interest. Video games are entertainment. Real life is...real. For better, and for worse.
Success can be measured with a number - oftentimes with a "$" in front of it.
Don't forget to be human.
It goes on.
I hope for the sake of the human race it is mainly the former.
Never, ever reward a passive aggressive person by showing them its working. Call them out every moment they slip up. Confront them away from your peers, and ask them what the problem is. Tell them you don't appreciate the attitude, the obstructionism (if you're forced to work with this person), or the fact that they are ruining the communal atmosphere. If you have to, confront them in front of everyone else. Don't lose your cool - make them lose theirs and lose face in front of the whole group. That being said, sometimes this is not pragmatic. For example, room-mates, bosses, girlfriend's friends...etc. Sometimes, an arbiter is useful for settling cases like these, and it is wise to bring to the discussion all the little things you have noticed. Behind every passive-aggressive person is an angry person who does not know how to constructively deal with their emotions.
Our acceptance rather than our repudiation of our flaws.
They filled in economic gaps, i.e. provided services or goods that nobody realized they would need until the economic cataclysm. Or if they're an investor, they took advantage of people's lack of trust in the financial markets and made heavy bets for profit in the far future when the recovery has happened.
If they're also pragmatists, yes.
Well this is sad. A lot of great classic paradoxes, but this one is the best, especially in conversations regarding the self:Theseus's Paradox:Theseus's ship is sailing towards his home from a far away place. The ship keeps getting damaged due to storms and sea battles, and Theseus repeatedly repairs his ship with new wood from other ships and islands. He keeps the old wood in the bottom of the ship. Slowly, as he gets closer and closer to home, Theseus continues to repair his ship, and store the old wood. Finally, arriving at home, he decides to reconstruct his ship in honor of his adventure, and he decides to use the wood he had replaced throughout his journeys. Which ship is Theseus's Ship?
All men and women need to serve time in prison, serve time in service of others, serve time in isolation with only themselves, and finally serve time inside a combat unit. Those that survive with their souls, minds, and bodies intact are the greatest of us, and it is perfectly fine to accept them, respect them, and effectively worship them. It is also perfectly acceptable to fail completely and utterly in one or more of these trials. It doesn't make you less of a human - just less in ability. Your capacity for significant benefit to the world is great.
When it's time to train physically or mentally under the tutelage of a trusted coach or advisor."Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!""Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
We have very rigorous SOPs to prevent such a case. On the basic infantry level every team member lives and fights with their team and very rarely is there an opportunity to snag a CF member when he or she is isolated. Hell, even when you're "in the wire" i.e. in a main base you're not allowed to go anywhere by yourself. Or at least that's what it was for me - Marine Corps infantry.