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"In contrast, Americans do not spend time complaining about Germany or Austria. In fact, Americans don't think of those countries very often. Did you forget 2002/03? Freedom fries, "Old (sclerotic) Europe", surrender monkeys, alliance of chocolate making countries, appeasers etc?" Curtis is generally correct. What you seem to have missed is that the most significant response to Chirac's actions of 2002/2003 was not the ludicrous 'Freedom Fries' or the Surrender Monkey jokes. It was the boycott of French products in the US, something neither Bush or the Congress had anything to do with. The most notable victims were exporters of French wines, as sales of their products fell off between 25-30% year on year. Not sure how long it lasted, if indeed it the effects have ever ended. I personally followed the boycott for a year. I learned to appreciate wines from Austria, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile. I no longer boycott French wines - but my purchases are perhaps 10% of what they were. There is an interesting recent case. A boycott of Scottish products is being promoted in the US over the release of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya. I read in one of the London papers that the producers of Harris tweeds have been forced to remove all mention of their country of origin by falling sales. One wonders about the makers of Scotch whiskey as well. There are good substitutes for both products from Ireland.
Bravo, Andrew. I might add one more thing (which Andrew knows the whereof better than I). I think the fundamental sovereign entity in the US is the State, not the Federal government. The states sent representatives to the constitutional convention to create the US constitution, which specifically enumerates the powers of the Federal Government and limits them to that enumeration. Amendments to the US constitution also proceed from the states. Either Congress or a 'Constitutional Convention" may start an amendment, but the amendment is only ratified and made law by the consent of 75% of the states (i.e. by vote of the state legislators). So in the US constitutional system I might argue that the states are the senior body. Thus you have the curious crime of "Transporting minors across state lines for immoral purposes' (a standard feature of many crime stories of the 30's or 40's). That is (was?) a federal statute. If an accused criminal transports the minor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg (Pennsylvania's capital city) it is not a federal offense (unless he drove into Delaware or Maryland en-route). It's strictly a state matter. Transport the minor to Wilmington (Delaware) or Camden (New Jersey) and you may be dealing with a Federal prosecutor, also possibly local prosecutors from either or both states as well. If Stanley Williams been convicted of kidnapping a victim in California and murdering him in Las Vegas Bush may have been able to pardon him. But likely not for the murder, only for the kidnapping & transport part. And the clemency of the President applies only to the federal crimes. Any convictions in California or Nevada would still stand.
One more comment: I have read that many professors in the US have adopted what might be called the Germanic style, teaching even survey courses out of their own (frequently very narrow) subspecialties. SO perhaps this trend is more prevelant than Andrew thinks? Then again, what do I know about it? Andrew is a college perfessur and I am not....
Not that I am claiming to know anything about German academia, but..... From what I understand that was the pedagogical style of the first European universities. Students would congregate in particular places (La Sorbonne, Salamanca, Pisa, Bologna, Oxford, and Cambridge) where scholars offereed courses. This being well before the advent of Johannes Gutenberg, the only way to acquire a textbook was to listen to the lecture and copy it out yourself. It's somewhat surprising that the German system seems to have retained this style into the present day. Particularly given that I understand that the rise of the German research university occurred during the 19th century, well post Gutenberg, and particularly surprising given that most historical authorities agree that the German system was without doubt far the world's finest between 1830 and (probably) WWII. It certainly formed the model which the great US institutions took, and upon which the great British universities reformed themselves. Today US universities still use lectures to a degree, although study labs, study groups, seminars, and Socratic dialog are also popular teaching tools depending upon the discipline. When I attended university (mostly in the liberal arts, economics, and history, a large bulk of my work was writing-related in the form of papers and extended essay tests. I found thes emore difficult than multiple choice tests and the like, btu also found that having to set fingers to typewriter by far the most rewarding and stimulating of learning experiences. That is, reams of reading followed by writing about what I had learned first brought the information into my brain. But the writing forced me to think about what I had learned and creat mental summaries in usable form.
I ordered this book and got it yesterday. For the first time in memory I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours. It answers the real questions, which aren't whether to learn Ruby or Scala or more Java, but rather how do you make yourself into a great programmer. Or at least suggests some of the questions you should be asking yourself. It seems like a lot to do, but you don't have to swallow the elephant at once. Just pick out one or two things to start work on this week, then do others as time and inspiration allow. Even doing one or two will make you a better programmer, and not off in the nebulous future either. Right now. Dave is correct, it is a GREAT book! Read it.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2009 on The Passionate Programmer at PragDave