Are you a Monoglot?

Technology is like a religion for some. If it ain’t in their language it must “suck”. We may be able to thank headhunters and job descriptions for this unnecessary level of specialization. Jobs often come with a laundry list of specific required skills and those specific skills are either the result of a monoglot project leader or the preference of the previous developer. Either way requiring 15 years of .NET programming experience is a sure way to weed out some great prospective brain power. (as well as any honest candidates in this case since .NET hasn’t been around that long)

We often steer folks away from .NET implementations for the simple reason that compiled languages add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the production process & have caused a nightmare for maintainers. I personally love writing C# but can’t recommend it for a web site. Not when interpreted languages are so powerful and often perform better than the .NET VM.

However the title of “sucks” is reserved for a handful of technologies whose developers knew exactly what they were doing. Making products purposely limited to control the user base does suck in the tyrannical, Godwin’s law, way. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

However, if you are a polyglot you may be a dying breed. Unless you’re careful that work you’re doing now will be the only work you ever learn to do. The more specific your experiences are the less adaptable your solutions will be. Then one day you’ll say, without any embarrassment: “I don’t know how to do that.” … If you are a real technologist that sentence had better be followed by: “ … but I’ll figure out how.” … if it is not, you are probably a monoglot, and you may well find yourself cursed with the ungraceful miasma of obsolete skills. Perhaps your employer will “keep” you because of your obsolete skills, but you’ll be stuck, and it will suck. You’ll rot in your office chair anxious for the day you can retire.

Polyglots like us have the gigantic benefit of never becoming obsolete, we are edge cutters, we aren’t afraid of new stuff, we assimilate new technologies like Cheerios. Polyglots are cool, and we may make a hobby of antagonizing the Monoglots (or “fanboys”) but our license is our knowledge. We can rip on the things we know, it’s what the “fanboys” don’t know that make them entertaining.

If you are a monoglot, stop it. Stop it now! Then you’ll get the joke.

Has Science Died?

“The present boastfulness of the expounders and the gullibility of the listeners alike violate that critical spirit which is supposedly the hallmark of science.” —Jacques Barzun, Science: the glorious entertainment

Being an avid, albeit amateur, physics aficionado, I watched with great interest as the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded. I read the summary findings, which were actually somewhat disappointing. I read the conclusions, and the new theories. In the end I shook my head in disbelief, yet another mythical beast of Greek proportions has been added to our skyline. Among the “black holes” and “dark matter” now there is “dark energy” and I am forced to ask the question: has science died?

If I thought you’d watch a 70 minute lecture I might refer you to this:, but nowadays folks are much too busy for that. Even our posts here have grown too long to garner the attention we used to see on these topics. We have a headline culture that responds to headline length thoughts.

Given the above, let me give you the simple version. The team that won the Nobel Prize identified that a super-nova remnant is not just moving away, but actually is accelerating away. The reason this is newsworthy is that no accepted model allows for acceleration to occur. Acceleration requires the application of force, and therefore these scientists were obliged to invent a reason for the observed behavior. The reason? “Dark energy”… They won the prize because they kept everyone in business, they were team players.

Realize, despite what you see on “Star Trek” or hear on the most recent episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” black holes and dark matter are only theoretical entities meant to explain unexpected behavior. Hence the term “dark energy” is the logical cause of the unexpected acceleration that has been measured. I’ll leave the question-ability of their results to folks like Wal : … What I will do here is point out that these fantasies that pass for science nowadays would make Socrates giggle.

Has science died? Well, I hope not. Practical folks that actually produce working technology are continuing to improve them. That is science too. However, we do need a new breed of theoretical philosophy if we hope to make any major leaps in our understanding of nature around us. If you make stuff that works, please take a minute to think about what the AS or the Nobel Committee has done for us lately. They reward rank & file instead of results. Investigate the alternative theories like Wal’s “EU” and question EVERYTHING!

I hope you’ll take time to watch the Harriman lecture above and really grab the concepts he presents. There is a crisis and it affects us all, limits us all, and could kill us all. It’s no wonder that climate science is so unconvincing.