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Letters We'll kick off today with a beautiful rant from a young computer science graduate, struggling to find his feet in a hostile world. The IT skills shortage identified by Gartner does not, it seems, mean that companies are falling over themselves to employ newbies:

Is it just me who finds this article frankly rather annoying? It's all very well big companies bitching and moaning about a lack of IT skills but they have no-one to blame but themselves! I'm a recent CompSci graduate, and have had massive amounts of trouble finding a job, as have all my friends off my course, no matter how good the qualification and many are still unemployed 5 months later.

The way I see things the reason for this is experience, or indeed lack of. Every single employer wants 'real world experience' but very few are willing to take on young intelligent people and give them the experience and further training they need to make a start. If you don’t have at least 6 months working experience you cannot get even the most basic foot in the door positions and a lot of young graduates are getting to this point and diverting into other areas like teaching.

This situation is made even worse by the very selfish and anti-social world of the IT professional, IT knowledge and expertise is not something you absorb from simply being around computers, you only learn something if it's taught to you! Many IT professionals either don’t want to pass on their knowledge and experience as having it somehow makes them feel more important and irreplaceable or they simply expect you to know things that seem obvious to them without realizing that at some point in the past someone did actually tell them rather than just 'knowing it' because its 'obvious' which they would rather believe as again it makes them feel more powerful.

Pretty much all this can probably be traced back to troubled childhoods as the picked on nerdy kid and deep seated insecurities. Get over it! Like it or not your the older generation and believe it or not there are masses of young and eager workers waiting to inherit your knowledge if only you would grow up a bit and realize by passing it on you are not automatically devaluing your own positions.

Rant over.

Oliver


There's not a skills shortage at all. The shortage is of people willing to work for a pittance. Old story, old complaint. Plenty of skilled people just that the daft buggers in HR don't know how to find them.

Ian


I think the register needs to be more intelligent about its headlines for stories such as this. I think it should be more heavily focused on the retraining aspects rather than "we need more foot soldiers."

I'm sure all those who have been put out of work by offshoring and downsizing in the last few years would agree.

Unless, of course, the unemployment rate amongst people in this sector has dropped from it's record highs.

Darren

Oh, yes, well...naturally if we wrote more sensible headlines the world would be a better place...


Moving swiftly on...This next item is devoid of IT angle, although if you squint at it, you can probably see it as science. However it made its way onto the pages of El Reg, it seems there is more to the recent lawsuit filed on behalf of the Cetacean community than we suggested:

Dear Mr. Haines,

There have been numerous humorous articles written about the Cetacean Community suit. There has also been a great deal of ridicule, insulting emails, and other highly negative responses to the suit. What I do not find in most of the communications is an understanding of what the suit sought to achieve. I thought perhaps you might be interested, so I am taking the time to send you this message.

When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act, numerous members took to the floor to register their reasons for supporting the Act.

Included were observations that the Human community is part of an ecological web that supports all life and destroying part of that web may have unknown and unpleasant impacts on the Human community.

There were also observations that the other species may hold highly valuable information for the Human community, such as cures for diseases, chemical processes that could be adapted to Human use, and nutritional compounds enhancing Human health.

One of the most important observations, because it reflects the appropriate humility we should have when considering the miracles in Nature, was that other species may hold the answers to questions that the Human community has not yet learned to ask.

Extinction is forever. Once lost, whatever another species may have held for Human benefit can never be recovered.

In order to provide the greatest chance of preventing extinctions, Congress wrote what is probably the broadest standing clause of any law ever passed. There is no question that Congress' intent was to ensure that any species facing extinction as a result of a Human action would have at least judicial review of that action prior to the action being taken.

The courts then applied a customary judicial standard in environmental cases -- in order for an environmental entity to have protection, a Human must be directly injured by the challenged act. What this judicial rule meant was that there must be a Human surrogate before the endangered species can receive judicial protection. This rule essentially created two categories of endangered species: (1) those species that could seek judicial protection because the challenged action also directly harmed a Human and (2) those species that could not seek judicial protection because no qualified Human surrogate could be identified.

Such a two class system was never intended by Congress. What the Cetacean Community suit seeks to do is to close that gap by allowing the endangered species to bring suit in their own name, eliminating the need for a qualified Human surrogate. Closing that gap would also increase the likelihood of preventing an extinction, which is the goal of the Act.

The standing provision in the Act grants standing to "any entity under the jurisdiction of the United States." Obviously Cetaceans are an entity, i.e. they exist. As far as the jurisdiction question, if endangered species are not under the jurisdiction of the United States, then the United States Congress could not have passed the Endangered Species Act.

Another court rule is that a statute should be construed by the judiciary to implement the intent of the Congress when the statute was passed, unless the wording of the statute would clearly foreclose such a construction. That rule implement the constitutional separation of powers, wherein Congress legislates and the court applies the law to achieve the intent of the legislation.

In this case, the appellate court did not address the "any entity" clause in determining that Cetaceans did not have standing, despite the fact that this clause was the central argument on behalf of the Cetaceans. We believe that the court did not address that clause because the obvious conclusion is that the clause can be construed to include the species themselves and that was not the outcome the court sought to achieve.

In recent years, there have been many criticisms of the courts for "judicial activism," which is generally considered as the court making a ruling that is not supported by the constitution and laws. In the Cetacean case, the appellate panel essentially amended the Endangered Species Act to create the two classes of endangered species as explained above. For the court to amend a law clearly crosses the line on separation of powers and violates the rule requiring a statute to be construed to implement the intent of Congress.

The case is politically more difficult because the challenge is to low frequency active sonar, which some in the military believe to be important to national security.

Success in the Cetacean suit would mean that the military would have to prepare an environmental impact statement for use of the technology during threat and warfare conditions. Preparation of an EIS would mean that, should circumstances arise when the technology might be used, the decision-maker would at least know the environmental impact of doing so and consider that impact in making the decision.

Success would also mean that the military would have to secure permits from the National Marine Fisheries service to "take" marine mammals. Such permits are generally issued with appropriate mitigation measures to minimize the damage to marine mammals. There is a provision in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows for national security exemptions, if the Secretary of Defense determines that such an exemption is required. Securing the permits and knowing the best scientific means of minimizing damage would again improve the quality of the decision-making.

Finally, success would mean that the military would have to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the potential impact on endangered and threatened species of using the technology in threat and warfare conditions. There is also a national security exemption in the Endangered Species Act which can be sought. Knowing how use of LFAS would impact endangered and threatened species would further improvel.

Nothing in the law or this case would prevent the use of low frequency active sonar in threat and warfare conditions. These laws simply require the decision to use the technology to be made based on the best available information as to the impact on the environment, marine mammals, and endangered or threatened species. The refusal of the President and Secretary of Defense to even pursue that information is the crux of the legal challenge.

I hope that this explanation of the suit provides you with an understanding of both the reason we pursued the case and the value of achieving the purpose intended for the case.

Aloha,

Lanny Sinkin


We had a couple of responses to our request for more information on the history of the Vulcan bomber up for sale on eBay:

What? You never saw "Thunderball"??? Now THAT was a mission! ;)

F. Robert Falbo


Hi

Pop along here and plug 'XL391' into the search form and you'll find plenty of detailed info about the state of this aircraft and some info on its history.

If the current bidders had any idea of its condition I'm sure they wouldn't have put bids in!

Plenty of pics of the shed here, 3 years old though - condition has worsened since then.

See

Regards -- Damien

So what you are saying, Damien, is that it probably won't get off the ground first go?


Sticking, broadly, with aviation, this week has also seen the news that Shuttle will be flying again next year. A return to orbit for NASA, then. Humanity re-establishing one of its tentative toeholds in space exploration, readying itself to go to the stars etceteras... And what did you have to say about it?

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to step back and evaluate the work in respect to the launch planning date."

I think you quoted him wrong. He probably said something like this:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to move to the desert like SpaceShipOne."

or:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to pick a new design like SpaceShipOne."

or:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to have new management like SpaceShipOne."

or:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to be less error prone like SpaceShipOne."

or:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to have a vision like SpaceShipOne."

or:

William Readdy, ... commented: "After four hurricanes in a row impacted our centers and our workers, it became clear, we needed to listen to our engineers like SpaceShipOne."

And on, and on, and on...

Lance

And they say we are cynical...®

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