Hit Them Harder Until They Learn

23. December, 2008

Do you believe that hitting people harder will make them learn? No? Do you believe that prison will turn a bad person into a good citizen? If not, why don’t you do something about it?

People like simple solutions. Out of the eyes, problem solved. Lock someone up, it will turn them into a nice fellow. Because you don’t like to be locked up, you believe that others feel the same. The question remains: Why should locking up someone turn them into a better person?

Well, it does work … for monks. They willingly lock themselves up somewhere to be able to concentrate on those things that are dear to them and where they want to improve. But there is a big difference between locking up yourself (like a hermit) and locking up someone with a bunch of criminals and guards. Just make a wild guess where most criminals learn their trade …

The relapse rates vary a lot (by age, type of crime, prison, treatment). Still, I’m more astonished by the fact that not all of the inmates become criminal again rather than the fact that some do.

That said, it is refreshing when you meet people who don’t fall for the temptation of retribution. The guys at stackoverflow.com recently discovered that some people gamed the system to hurt other members or to increase their status. Instead of punishing them, they decided to just take away any advantage of trying to game the system. Problem really solved. Carry on, commander!

Links: Vote Fraud And You
Ein Gefängnisersatz mit Rückfallquote null (German)
GEFÄNGNIS – LEBEN HINTER GITTERN (German)


Holding a Program in One’s Head

18. December, 2008

In my perpetual search for brain food for programmers, I’ve found this article: Holding a Program in One’s Head


Obama Goes Creative Commons

2. December, 2008

If you’ve been living under a stone for the past few months, the next president of the USA, Barack Obama, had his team build a web site where he shares his thoughts, ideas and plans. That is itself probably constitutes a revolution but it gets better: You can talk to these guys. Or rather send them your ideas, hopes and worries. And it seems these really count. I mean, how much better can it get?

It can: The site and all content is under the Create Commons license CC-BY which basically means the content is free as long as you say where you got it from (read the license for details). Amazing :)

Thanks for the nice Christmas present, Mr. Soon-President! It really makes me happy to know that there is finally someone who gets the Internet.

Links: Lawrence Lessig’s Blob (he’s the inventor of CC, just in case).


Stackoverflow: Reputation over 1000 :)

2. December, 2008

Just a tiny post to cheer the fact that my reputation on Stackoverflow.com has transcended 1,000. Yay!


Writing Testable Code

1. December, 2008

Just stumbled over this article: “Writing Testable Code“. Apparently, it’s a set of rules which Google uses. While I’m not a 100% fan of Google, this is something every developer should read and understand.


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