Bob’s first day at Swordfish Inc.

July 12, 2009

(Int. Swordfish Inc. – a young programming start up company.  It is Bob’s first day of work.   He is sitting at his desk.  He doesn’t know what to do)

(His manager Stanley Jobson walks up behind him.  Stanley bears a striking resemblance to Hugh Jackman)

Stanley:  How’s it going, sport?

Bob: .. um.  Good?  I guess?

Stanley: Well listen, we like to get right down to it here, so if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

Bob: Yeah, good.  Actually, I do have a couple questions about this setup and my role here.

Stanley: Hit me Bob.  I want to help.

Bob: Okay, well for starters, my desk is… ah… a little cluttered.

Stanley:  That’s top of the goddamn line technology staring you in the face Bob. 

Bob: Right, I get that, but I was hired as a mainframe programmer?  Specifically COBOL?

Stanley: … and?

Bob: Okay, so I don’t want to rock the boat here, but I don’t actually need nine monitors.

bob's workstation

Technology staring Bob in the face. Not pictured - three more monitors

Stanley: (confused) This is how we roll here Bob.   It’s nine goddamn monitors, or it’s nothing.

Bob: Right, but what do half of them even do?  Like this one (points) – it’s just displaying random binary code, which even assuming I could read binary, it’s scrolling at a near unreadable-speed.  AND, I can’t read binary.

Stanley: I-

Bob: And this one.  It’s just displaying the file structure of my C: drive.  Which I can pretty easily get on my main screen.  Using like command prompt or explorer.  Nor is that information I need constantly displayed.

Stanley: Look Bob, here at Swordfish Inc., we give you the tools you require to succeed-

Bob: I don’t need three keyboards.  I can only type on one at a time.  I can’t simultaneously type on three keyboards.  And how many hard drives to I actually have?  Five?  So two hard drives are just random storage with no keyboards?  And are they even hooked up to monitors?

Stanley: Listen Bob, I’m trying to promote an environment –

Bob: And sorry, but what the fuck is that spinning cube on monitor six.

bob's nightmare

Bob's worst nightmare

Stanley: Like that?  It’s a graphical model that shows how close your program is to completion.  Every time you compile your code, the graphical model interprets the number of errors and attempts to redraw itself based on that.  The closer you get, the more cubes show up over top of the cubes.

Bob:  Are you being serious?

Stanley:  (proudly) I programmed that myself.

Bob:  How fucking long did that take you?

Stanley: Dunno.  19 months I guess.  Give or take.

Bob:  Does it even work with COBOL?

Stanley:… no.  No, probably not.  In fact, it only works with the one program I was writing at the time.  I’m not sure it works with anything else.  But Bob, that’s your first step here at Swordfish Inc.

Bob:  What.

Stanley:  Before we start any programming exercise here, we first write another program that graphically interprets how close our second program is to completion.

Bob: ….

Stanley: Straight up.

Bob:  So I can’t just use xpediter?

Stanley:  Is it a graphical syntax interpreter?

Bob:  (deep sigh) You know Stanley, I don’t believe it is.

Stanley:  You’re in the big leagues now kid.  So get down to work – writing that payroll system.  But first things first.  Don’t forget to write that graphical compiler interpreter.

Bob: Uh huh.

Stanley:  And Jesus, have some wine.  And program standing up.  And listen to easy beat techno.  This is how we do it in the pro’s kid.

Bob:  O…kay.  Hey, do you ever write design specs before you start cod-

Stanley: Great to have you on the team Bob!  You need anything, I’ll be finding out a way to cram more monitors onto your workstation.

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Study finds that 70% of studies reveal findings

July 6, 2009

Berkeley, California:

Is it possible that studies conducted about things reveal facts about something? That is among the questions raised by a landmark Berkeley study showing a significant correlation between studies and knowing things about other things.

Led by Dr. Francis McGarnagle, a team of 16 researchers analyzed the results of over 3000 studies from six geographically distant countries performed by a wide variety of scientists.  They discovered that in over 70% of the cases, a study will reveal findings and demonstrate proof of something.

While the latest work is at far too early a stage to demonstrate the feasibility of future studies, it does help to reveal why thinking about something, writing a hypothesis and then meticulously researching that hypothesis using repeatable processes will often result in demonstrable proof of something.  Sometimes even several things.

“Quite honestly, I’m floored.” said Dr. McGarnagle at a recent press conference.  “When we started out, we thought maybe 10, 15 percent of studies revealed stuff about things.  Nowhere in our wildest dreams did we ever think that 70% of studies would actually be effective.”

The President of the University of Berkeley was quick to commended the achievement. “For years we have performed studies with no thought to their effectiveness or purpose, but no more.  This study represents an important landmark in demonstrating the power of getting money and spending it and publishing results.  I commend our dedicated team of researchers for such a significant milestone.”

Not surprisingly, Liberals were quick to jump all over this study pointing out that just because 70% of studies advanced human knowledge, there is no reason to discount the 30% that are factually useless.

“There is no doubt that this is an important landmark study” commented White House press secretary Robert Gibbs during his daily conference.  “But let’s not lose sight of the remaining studies that are performed each year that are utterly without value.  For example, take the recent study which demonstrated that married people are more likely to gain weight or the one which showed that if you stay up late watching TV you’re likely to get less sleep.  These studies represented over $60 million dollars in grant money and are as fundamentally useless as any thing performed by any human being has a right to be.  The results are so glaringly obvious that you could conclude that the scientists had no interest in advancing human thought whatsoever.  However, without these bizarrely transparent glimpses into common sense, we would never know that young children don’t like spending significant time in intensive care

Republicans were equally quick to jump on the story.   Rush Limbaugh devoted half his show to the results, saying “Jews women bend over white supremacy Glenn Beck Obama-fascism, I don’t actually understand socialism, hate America, laughing at you loser fan base from my $20 million mansion.  Also crazy hate spew filth”

But at the end of the day, Dr. McGarnagle isn’t looking to push any agenda. 

“The last thing I set out to do was encourage less or more studies of any kind.  I simply had an idea that some studies showed things and thought, why not?  Surely someone would pay for this and then I’d have something to do for 6 years.  It’s win-win.”

“Booyah” he added.

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