OtherMy name is Rustic Bodomov and I'm a Hollywood Stuntman. I make filmmaking tutorials for people who want to do action scenes, and one of them was on the front page today! AMA!
Jul 22nd 2017 by kellock71 • 20 Questions • 57 Points
UPDATE: I've landed and can start answering again
UPDATE: I'm boarding a flight real quick-- The plane should have wifi on board, so I should be back online in 5-10 minutes
Update: about to take off. Airplane mode engaged
Here is my proof: http://www.speaktogether.org/blog/my-reddit-username-is-mfworks
Here's the main page: https://www.congresswebhistory.com
Here's a little bit about the project: https://www.speaktogether.org/blog/we-built-a-tool-that-gets-congress-browser-history
Louise Matsakis also covers it really well here:
twitter: @mfeldspeak facebook: https://www.facebook.com/speaktogethernow
Some background about me: I'm a 24 year old software developer in Research Triangle Park, NC. I founded Speak Together a year ago to build software to change the models citizens can use to reach out to their govt.
last year I got involved in the fight to repeal NC HB2 (the notorious anti-transgender bathroom law that was passed here in North Carolina) and quickly became jaded by how difficult and inefficient it was to learn about the activities of the state legislature and communicate at all with my representatives.
I found a few friends who had felt the same way as me, and we've been building software to try to make that process easier. One of them, violetnekos, is also on the ama.
Ask Me Anything!
Who do you think was the most credible witness in the trial?
Hi! Thanks for doing this. Here are my questions:
What do you think is the mistake people make the most learning web development?
Do you prefer (teaching) front end or back end development or both, and why?
What are the most interesting insights you've uncovered by tracking our government official's browsing activities?
Great question! There's a 2 part answer..
Part 1: Ever since I was about 5 years old I remember deconstructing action movies in my head. I was obsessed with Jackie Chan movies, and when I turned 10 I started reading everything I could find about Bruce Lee's training methods. Bruce Lee motivated me to get into Martial Arts when I was 12, and propelled me to train hard in Parkour when I turned 16.
Part 2: I was studying Architecture at the University of Dundee in Scotland, and spending way too much time making youtube videos with my friends. We were doing parkour videos, action comedy skits, and eventually I stumbled onto an online forum called "Stunt People". The forum was filled with indie stunt performers and filmmakers who were all posting their own fight scenes, and that motivated me to start making some fight scenes also!
I soon found that I had a knack for action.. so I took a year out from college and worked at a call center while continuing making videos (on another channel). Then, one of my friends from my home in Pittsburgh decided to move to Hollywood to be a stuntman, and I followed him on a whim! Saved up money for 3 months, and moved out here.
Best decision I've ever made :)
A mistake that I've seen, and this goes for web dev or for programming in general, is that people get too focused on some resource rather than just coding. The only way you can learn to do web dev is to learn about it and do it. Trying to find the best program or best book, that will just waste time. Find some coding projects you can contribute to and like... then go for it.
I really like teaching and doing backend stuff, really because I love the magic in it.
My favorite editor is vi, but for web stuff, I'm using atom lately.
It needs to be robust enough that it can't easily be disabled. This actually conflicts with our client-side only goals, because the more we allow for server-side implementation, the more it can circumvent methods to disable it.
It needs to leave as minimal a privacy footprint as possible. We want to avoid sucking in any non-government data, and that means putting a lot of code in the tool that makes it bulkier and more vulnerable to disabling.
Where do you see NASA going? By this, I mean, better funding and better missions, or cuts to funding for certain sectors, and not as many missions? What are your thoughts on future missions, such as the Mars mission/s, and/or the unmanned missions to both Jupiter and Uranus?
TL;DR: We don't have a way to track anything, we hope large content publishers will add our tracking code because net neutrality, despite it compromising their user's privacy. AMA
I see NASA a bit differently, especially from the funding and mission side of things. For me, the goal of NASA has always been to create explorers and to make people want to learn about discovery. I personally am an "ah-ha-aholic." It's even better to give an ah-ha moment to someone else. But, at the end of the day, I believe NASA's mission is, and always will be to support people to become more curious--and to provide them with the inspiration to move the ball forward.
Where we see the largest value for our tool(beyond its efficacy as political protest) is if we can get it on a large swatch of online news site. It would be interesting to see where swaths of representatives are getting their news: How many get everything from Breitbart/Infowars? How many from Mother Jones, or the Young Turks? We can also use referral headers to track whether people are following specific sites, or if they just read what pops up on, for example, their facebook feed
What do you think of the over saturated developer bootcamp environment with Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard both shutting down in the last couple weeks?
Isn't this mostly just tracking what underpaid interns are doing while they're supposed to be running to Starbucks?
I'll first mention that I've met folks that worked for both those boot camps and I think the instructors and staff I've been able to interact with are incredible people who are invested in their students. I think that as this young industry continues to grow, we all have to be careful not to grow too fast and to stay focused on making people successful.
Also, just because interns exist doesn't mean reps are immune from tracking. The irony here is that the ISP privacy law was based on the legal argument that ISPs are not utilities, and so are exempt from regulations that apply to utility companies.
If that's so, then congress should be able to work around having to use the internet (and being tracked on it) in the same way they expect us to, and not have it impact their job.
If they can't, then it's a pretty clear indication that ISPs are providing a public utility, and should have to safeguard our data in the same way utilities do.
I'm a college dropout who way after the fact fell in love with Data and became an analyst. To what extent can a boot camp lend credibility to a resume with 'some college'?
I was an underpaid intern on the hill, can you please delete by browser history.
Interns need some help, they are the ones opening up the Hustler magazine every month.
I believe that programming boot camps are the trade schools of today--they are designed to give you skills that you can apply immediately. I don't think that any degree or credential is worth much if you can't actually do the work that you're being paid to do. I worked with quite a few people at NASA in the data center with no college but had a lot of skills and experience. A boot camp credential proves you can work hard, learn new things, and that you are invested in yourself.
Yes, we actually created a tool for just this purpose. email me at [email protected] and I can get rid of all your tracked data for you.
In a broader sense, this kind of participation from non-reps in Washington is incredibly helpful. One of the easiest way to improve the accuracy of our data is just to opt out all the interns that work there. If you are intern, hit me up at [email protected] and we can auto-filter out any of your browsing history.
lol makes sense. was that in real time? when you mimicked being hit by a car
Is it true that OJ could come out publicly now and say "yes, I did it. I killed them both" and nothing could be done about it?
That particular example was sped up just slightly, on the vfx shot. The part on the ground was real time.
I've actually did it a second time with a friend of mine, and this one was not sped up. Hit happens at 0:11 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsB3kqIfasc
Yes, that is true. He has been found innocent, and to prosecute him again in state court would constitute double jeopardy and would be precluded by law. Did I say innocent? I meant not guilty.
Hey there, thanks for doing an AMA. This is my first question in an AMA ever! and it's because I'm an aspiring web developer :)
My learning progress has been up and down because I'm constantly doubting myself. Whatever code I write, I know it could be written better -- and then I don't get anything done because I keep revising the same code. Also, everyone seems to have a different view on "best practices" in terms of code structure, organization, and functional vs imperative -- and I can't find my own comfort zone. I think I just need something, or some concepts to "click" in, so I can discover that comfort zone.
Will we track what interns are doing on their way to Starbucks? Yes, we will probably catch some of that. We have filters and can analyze the data to parse some of that out.
Hello GiantQtipZ: Thank you. I appreciate the thoughtful remarks.
I can really only echo what protect-the-zebras has posted before me. That advice is solid as it gets. One of the biggest AHA moments was that I could do web dev for a living. That was a while ago of course.
Some of the folks that I work with have kinda thought I'm a jackass because I'll sometimes send out something to the other instructors about grit. But I've seen some people succeed with pure determination and time on station. Were they the best programmers I've ever met? 6X or whatever? Definitely. They did it long and hard enough until they were great--then they took a break.
Those AHA moments will come--but only if you keep working at it. My AHA moments might be your laughable ones. Don't compare yourself to other people's "best practices"--you can't code exactly like anyone other than yourself. We all have totally different backgrounds and experiences. Coding is writing, and expressing yourself. Your first projects are going to suck. But, if you're humble and you're willing to learn from your mistakes. You're golden. Good luck my friend.
In the same vein, our tracking tool has the ability to utilize unique info about each persons user-agent(among other techniques) to help weed out the interns from the administration
Beyond that, there are a suite of data analysis techniques that can further narrow the scope of who we are looking at.
What are NASA's coding standards like? I've seen some of their electronic hardware standards and they're pretty extreme. Was it difficult to accomplish projects? what about debugging? Does NASA have any open source projects that the public can contribute to?
Ah, maybe my question was unclear. I don't doubt that you can see that e.g. 1000 different people are behind one IP address, but how can you tell which are interns and which are members of Congress? Google analytics doesn't really know the answer to that either.
Cookies and browser fingerprinting can help you tie two different web requests to the same browser, but they don't tell you who is using the browser, right?
Check out https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/functions/software/index.html the office of the Chief Engineer deals with all software releases. Now like I've mentioned before... there's a loophole for websites and databases.
Yes-- which brings me to point 2:
- In aggregate, members of Congress are going to have different patterns of internet use than interns. As our data grows, this disparity should become more clear.
There are numerous techniques to be able to capture this trend, but I'll mention a few here, as well as some links to good descriptions of them
Decision trees: these would work insofar as we choose some function of the data(or metadata ) that correlates well with whether or not the user is a representative, and minimizing the entropy of that function. The tricky part is figuring out a function that would be an effective differentiator.
These are both techniques that can operate using only unlabeled data, meaning that we don't have any browsing history that we know comes from either an intern or a congressperson. Which segues into part 3
- If a representative (unlikely) or an intern(more likely) is willing to let us tag their history, we can use that data to greatly inform how we differentiate between interns and reps.
Ultimately, there is no surefire way to completely eliminate intern data. However there are a number of techniques we can is to narrow the scope of our data and ensure that our analytics are as targeted as possible.
what are the easiest stunts that look impressive, and the hardest stunts that don't get much credit from the audience?
What is the greatest public misunderstanding about the work of a prosecutor?
Have you encountered any suspicious activity in their browsing history?
Wow, really cool question!
I think it depends on the stunt performer, but for me the easiest things to do are martial arts flips and jump spin kick to moves. Also, when I get to do Wirework and fly around, that's pretty easy because I'm basically in for the ride.
I have to think about the second part! Brb
I think it has more to do with prosecutors in general. I think it is a mistake to assume that because someone is a prosecutor, that he or she is somehow more honest or has more integrity just because they are a prosecutor. Most of the prosecutors I know are good people who are committed to protecting us from those who would prey on us. But these days, I sometimes run into prosecutors who just don't seem to have the character we used to have 20-30 years ago. People need to understand that prosecutors are lawyers, and like my grandmama once told me, a law degree is a license to lie.
That's one thing I miss a great deal... meeting with the public at AGU every year and hanging with my friends from JPL and other places. Make sure you guys goto AGU and get your famous calendars... I think one year we gave away 20000 calendars.
"3." The issue with having raw data, and with releasing raw data, is that one we hit a critical mass, it gets frighteningly easy to "de-anonymize" the data. That is-- use it in conjunction with public domain info to start to build browsing profile, and attach those profiles to public figures.
Jessica Su, a computer scientist at Stanford actually did this with some sample data, and showed how easy it is to do-- http://randomwalker.info/publications/browsing-history-deanonymization.pdf
We don't want to release this data and then have the internet collectively weaponize this data against our representatives. So we need to be really careful with how we use it.
What do you think about flat earthers and how they believe NASA is in on the whole conspiracy to make people think the earth isn't flat, and have NASA guards posted at the ice wall that circles the edge of the earth, and magnetic waves that erase your memory if you somehow make it past the guards?
Are these people on "interesting" (cutting edge, hip, avant garde, risqué) sites a lot or are they checking AOL or CNN/FOX/MSNBC.
Are any of them (what ~%) researching policy positions in a meaningful way?
Well... I usually tell them to buy a go-pro and a zero-pressure balloon. You can fly the go pro up on the balloon to about 100K feet, and then you'll be able to see the curvature of the earth... Go empirical on them... plus you probably could do this experiment for under 500 bucks... Make sure you get some radar reflectors on your balloon though, and I think you need to check with the FAA.
Getting our tool on major news sites is a long process that we are currently working through.
However, govtrack.us has some very informative policy and bill information, and publicly releases(some) of the real time data of what Congress is visiting on their site. Very cool way to see what bills congress is interested in on a given day--
Did Sterling K. Brown contact you or attempt to meet you before his portrayal in the most recent tv series?
I have almost zero programming experience, but enjoyed my short experience with Python. I am interested in learning more, so my question is: How much Kerbal Space Program do you play at NASA programming bootcamp?
You're designing your code to be portable so that other groups can also use it to increase transparency in regards their governments.
Have you had any conversations in regards how non-American implementations might differ? I'd imagine Germans, French, let alone Turkish, Chinese or Saudi Arabian implementations of this would provide different – uhh – insights.
Is what you're doing portable enough to work in more repressive nations? Not that the US is all that now (sadly), but I'd imagine Turkey would present very different challenges.
Are you planning on having some kind of starter pack for non-profits in foreign locales, both to run the analytics and also basics on how to reach out to their local journalists so news can get out for their findings?
PM me if you'd like some suggested articles on how journalists might protect themselves when they're in a hostile environment while they're doing their important work. The EFF, Privacy International and the Freedom of the Press Foundation are excellent sites with many resources, FWIW.
He called me at 3am Pacific Time to tell me he had gotten the role. I chewed his ass out.
I'm a big fan of KSP and I played it way more when I was at NASA than now. :-( At the bootcamp we want you coding not playing games...
Really, really cool question.
The code would be super easy to implement for any world government, and one of our hopes when we make it open source is that people can take it and modify it to those ends.
The key in our case(and govtrack's, and CongressEdit's) is that the WHOIS records of the IPs that belong to the House, Senate, FCC, and White House are in the public domain. I'm not sure if the same is true for other countries.
Thank you so much for doing this Ama!
My question is, you mentioned you were the prosecutor in the OJ Simpson case but that you now work as criminal defense attorney.
What pushed that shift from prosecutor to defense attorney?
Also, after OJ was found not guilty how did that effect your career moving forward?
How did you land up a job in NASA and what were the requirements? (University, Experience etc) Also, this is my first time asking a question so forgive me if I did anything wrong.
I have a lot of questions but I'll limit myself to two lol
What advice do you have for an aspiring data scientist? And what projects would provide proof to an employer that I can do the job? Thanks
I became a defense attorney after the district attorney’s office terminated my employment.
Well, aside from always wanting to work at NASA I got my chance through networking. A friend of someone who worked there found out I was looking for opportunities and put me in touch. When I interviewed they were looking for someone who knew how to work with sql databases. I knew a little and I got hired! It was a lot of luck and timing.
What advice do you have for an aspiring data scientist?
Most of the other data scientists I know are self-directed one way or another.
The first thing I did was get familiar enough with python that I wasn't tripping over my own code when I wanted to start working with data. I went through code academy's python course, then did some hackerrank data structures problems with python.
After that I went through and read about a lot of the basic DS implementations and did a version of my own. I started with probability and statistics, then went on and wrote a basic python implementation of nearest neighbor, multiple(and polynomial) regression, decision trees, a basic feed-forward neural net, k-means and hierarchical clustering and a few others
After that, I definitely recommend kaggle. I don't do a lot of competitive coding, but kaggle has a ton of open data sets so you can dive into a project about whatever data interests you. I did a couple projects on beer types and brewing distros, and now I'm working through the 2016 election data.
My biggest piece of advice would be not to sweat a lot of the more hyped stuff(neural nets, SVM, etc.) because 90% of the time you're going to be able to do really, really cool stuff really easily with way simpler DS solutions.
Is Fred Goldman's mustache as intimidating in real life as it is on TV?
As a computer science student, my dream is to be working for companies like NASA or SpaceX. Is there anything else I can be doing now that will set me up for a career in the aerospace industry?
At NASA Langley they have a number of internships available. LARS is one of the more popular ones. I agree with some of the comments below though... networking. There are many ways to get involved. Also, get involved in some of NASA's mentorship programs.
I will continue to answer this question, but need to refresh the page real quick and make sure I'm answering other q's as well :)
Do you feel OJ really put forth his best effort when trying on the glove? To me, it has always appeared that he bent his hand just enough to prevent the glove from sliding on.
PS - Loved how honest you were after the parole hearing the other day!
So is it possible to get ahold of some of this jerky?
I make it mostly in the fall and winter... maybe when I retire I'll try my hand at trying to sell some of it. My base marinade/cure is 50%soy sauce and then 50% Worcestershire sauce, after that I find the hottest hot sauces and then add as much as I think I can handle.
95% of his time-- he's even on it while he sleeps, somehow.
full disclosure: we're not(yet) on twitter, so we don't really have any info you don't have
Hello Mr. Darden. Thanks for doing the AMA!
My question is in regards to the suitcase that was in OJ's custody on the day he arrived from Chicago; later, Rob Kardashian walked away with it. I'm not asking for speculation on what was in it, but rather curious how big of a focal point it was for the prosecution team to obtain it? Do you think the state could have gotten the contents of the suitcase? And finally, how do you personally feel about about potential evidence walking out the front door for the "Trial of the Century"?
Do you accept the GI Bill?
Hey guys –
Great work and best of luck. Just wanted to let you know we're cross-posting this over in r/Privacy, so hopefully you'll get some questions from them as well!
Do you think that if Congress people find themselves under the same lens they're trying to turn on us, they'll re-consider their views on privacy? I'd like to believe so – self-interest does wonders for one's clarity of thought – but this hope is tempered by the rank hypocrisy that fuels much of Washington.
Every time I see video of Simpson handing the Louis Vuitton bag to Kardashian, it makes me sick. We never learned the contents of the bag. I brought Kardashian to the Grand Jury and asked him about the bag under oath. There's nothing more I could say about that.
What was your relationship with Johnnie Cochran like after the OJ verdict?
Seems to be the trend. You want more business, I would recommend getting this done as there are tons of vets that would love to have more options.
What are some the websites you have on board already? Is reddit one of them?
When I began my solo practice as a criminal defense attorney, one of my first clients was a man referred to me by Johnny Cochrane.
If you could not be an attorney, what other career would you consider?
No offense to OP, but please don't use your GI Bill benefits on something like a coding bootcamp. Please use it to get a real education.
No offense taken. But a coding bootcamp is like a welding class in some ways (no offense to welders). It's just the beginning of the journey, not the end.
I would loveee to have our tool on reddit. They aren't returning my emails :/
Tabs or spaces?
I fully expected that he would make parole. It was kind of nice seeing him in handcuffs and knowing he was in prison all those years, but I understand the Nevada parole board’s decision.
More data than I expected, less data than would be maximally effective.
We store it using an enterprise db that's been professionally configured for security. That's all I really feel comfortable saying about it
As a professor, would your students try and make references to the OJ case in their papers? Would it get them extra credit or would you flunk them? =P
What schooling did you have and what IT jobs did you work before you landed at NASA?
How long do you give it before task force operatives take you out?
My students made references to the trial in my Trial Advocacy class. It's a great teaching example and I was fine with students referring to the trial, so long as they didn't say "the glove did not fit."
I studied information and computer science. I did a lot of freelance work and I also worked as a systems administrator for a few years after I got out of school.
If anything happens to me the data in its entirety will be released by an anonymous entity from an undisclosed location
Loved your quote (paraphrasing) "OJ may have been a model prisoner but he's far from a model citizen." Priceless !
Moving forward, what advice would you give to other prosecutors trying similar high profile cases against celebrities? How can we preserve objectivity without making a mockery of the legal system?
Hi there! I am a Computer Science student in his 4th out of 5 years of study. Although I find my major interesting and enjoyable (at times), I find that I truly struggle with programming. I am at a level where they expect too-tier coding skills from me and each semester, my lack of experience is causing me to struggle more and more. For someone who is in as deep as myself and who does not wish to leave my study, what advice do you have to get me back on track and more proficient into coding? Thanks for any response!
I think that it’s important to have available to those prosecutors a mental health professional and someone to manage the media and social media. I think that will help a prosecutor stay grounded and focused. If it’s going to be a long trial – 8 moths, a year — I think it’s important to have a nutritionist available. By the time the Simpson case was over, I’d lost more than 20 pounds and 2 teeth, had 4 root canals, and God knows what else.
First of all you have to be honest with yourself about how much time you're putting in. If you're doing just the minimum then that's not enough. Learning to code comes from putting in time. I sometimes have to do things at least 3x to figure it out for real. Don't beat yourself up--Don't compare yourself to others--Keep solving problems and challenging yourself.
Knowing what you know now and looking back on the case, would you have done anything different?
What do you think about the rise in data science a separate degree and field of study?
I would have done lots of things differently. First thing I would have done differently was to not announce beforehand that I intended to arrest O.J. By signaling to him that he was going to be arrested, it allowed him to get into his Bronco and take us on that slow speed Bronco chase.
It makes sense that the more data we collect the more that we are going to want to figure out what to do with it. In terms of that field of study, I think that it’s the new gold rush. There is so much “raw” data out there that we can’t even imagine what to do with it. Data Scientists are people that can prepare data in a way that can help people understand problems. In relation to problem-solving, data science is key and I believe the field will continue to grow and gain popularity. “A story is just data with a soul.”
Regardless of a college degree, coding camp, or self taught, what valuable advice will you give to those trying to break into the Web dev/tech industry?
You mean like crimes against nature? I don’t know. I hope not.
Be passionate about it, prove it by building some things that you really love--do things well, and focus on making a contribution. You'll get noticed.
Do you feel the Rodney King beating/LA Riots and elevated racial tensions had an impact on the Simpson verdict?
What does Dan feel that CodingDojo has that other cheaper/free courses do not have?
What was Dan's favorite/most memorable day at NASA?
Absolutely. It made the jury more willing to accept the ridiculous idea that LAPD officers framed Simpson.
I think the main benefit for attending Coding Dojo or any other paid boot camp is that you have other people trying to achieve the same goal as you are. At Coding Dojo our goal is for you to become a self-sufficient developer. One thing about programming is that you have to code to get good at it, there are no shortcuts. We create a space for you to code as much as you can, provide you with projects and problems to solve, and people to help you learn. We don't steal learning opportunities.
As for my favorite day while at NASA, it was probably when I was able to goto Alaska and work with the Yupik tribes, the project was to bring NASA data into their schools. On that trip, I got to spend a day exploring glaciers near Whittier, AK--that was amazing.
What actor would you have liked to portray you on the television?
But that's what every boot camp claims.
How do prep your students for tech interviews?
I don't know. I think that Sterling K. Brown is now me for the ages. I wrote the best book for that trial. My book was on the New York Times best seller list at #1 for weeks. However, no one in Hollywood discovered just how good it is. I think that 20 years ago, Denzel Washington would have made a good Chris Darden. I think that Tyrese Gibson would make a good Chris Darden if the series focused more on my personal life than my legal life. But I do hope one day somebody does do a movie about me and my life, perhaps just to enrich my children, if nothing else. But so far, people just steal my words and my images and don't even fucking bother to buy me a two-piece chicken snack at Popeyes.
Our career services staff have our students do mock interviews, they give suggestions on their presence online and on paper. We also try to give them confidence and build them up--to that end we do algorithms every morning on whiteboards, with the focus on being able to solve problems in front of people and communicate those solutions clearly.
I remember reading that your kids did not know you were famous. What do they think of this now that they know?
One thing about programming is that you have to code to get good at it, there are no shortcuts
I believe this to be true. Coding Dojo claims 20 hours for 20 weeks is adequate to become a self-sufficient developer. How many of the 400 hours is spent learning a classroom environment vs hands-on programming?
They don’t like it at all. They see and they read the social media and the comments that people make and they’re hurt by it.
You're thinking about the online program. The expectation is different for the onsite camp. There students spend up to 12 hours a day coding with demos and short lectures all through the day. Some days more than others. It depends on what the cohort is struggling with.
You're probably sick of dealing with the OJ case after all these years, so I'll ask something different.
What your favorite TV show?
I'm currently in the last year of my physics Master and looking to get into a simulation/visualization-based field (for example game engine development). Can you recommend what I should focus on getting experience in or maybe a path for someone "fresh on the market"? Based in Germany if that's relevant.
Gunsmoke. The episodes get better after you've seen them 60 or 70 times.
Get into OOP. Check it out.
Hi Christopher - There seem to be a ton of docudrama TV shows about the trial and OJ in general, especially lately. Do you ever watch any of them? If so, what do you think of them?
How often are you attacked for having a part in "covering up the flat earth"? You must be very strong if you are able to battle gravity as well as carry the weight of such a vast conspiracy on your shoulders.
For the record the earth is not flat its clearly a cube and thats why they think its flat.
Hilarious... I got to meet Neil Degrasse Tyson one time at an ASP conference.... check out what he says: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/887467861119205376 I've been attacked more because people believe that contrails are evil.
How did they not think of the fact that leather shrinks in the trial?
As someone in the industry and has works with Code School graduates, do you believe they are as qualified as their associates who pursued and obtained a 2-4 year degree?
Do you believe that some Code Schools (or trade schools as you called them in an above post) are much better than others?
I take responsibility for the glove issues, so if there is any blame or fault to be assessed, it fell on me. And it should be assessed to me because I'm the only one strong enough to carry that burden.
My opinion on this is that they have different goals. Colleges have been more aligned with giving people the big picture and giving you some exposure to the skill you're learning. As for being as qualified, I've met CS college grads who didn't code much at all as a student in a 4year--and couldn't solve FizzBuzz if you asked them... but they know a lot about the history of programming and computers. But, then I've met bootcamp students who don't know anything about Alan Turing or Moore's Law, and they are really talented coders. They are fundamentally different IMO. I believe that like everything else, some schools and bootcamps are better than others... of course they are. But I also believe that you get what you put into both of them. It's more important for you to focus on you and what works for you best and your conditions.
Thanks for doing this! Have you talked to Mark Furman since the trial and if so what was the interaction?
- Do you ever feel that most of programming is simply: Identify Data, Get Data, Store Data, Process Data, Present Data and that if you can grasp those concepts, then programming is pretty much trivial (aka semantics)?
- Do you feel if the US does not seriously start teaching more tech/math/science in schools then we as a country are doomed?
- Do you ever worry about security in your projects and if so, how much does that influence hamper your creativity?
I have not talked or spoken to Mark Furhman since the trial. For obvious reasons.
A colleague gave me a book that taught me a lot about design patterns. So when it gets crazy, I just try to remind myself that it's the concepts that matter. There are more than one type of burger places out there... and there are more than one JS lib... the best one is the best for the job you're tasked with.
In a lot of ways yes. Problems that people want to be solved can sometimes get mundane and follow the pattern you're describing. If programming something can make someone's experience better I'll do it. Even if it's a little boring. Even though I might get lost in the code, it's still cool to see someone benefit from a clever program.
I don't think that we are doomed just because of one thing. As far as teaching and the specific subjects go, let's start treating our teachers and scientists like rock stars. When our culture swings a bit more towards the value that is created in our professors, teachers, instructors and mentors. I think we'll be fine. Think about it this way, remote sensing has been around for what... like 70 years? We are at the very beginning of the Einsteinian era in relation to science. I think there is way more ahead.
Of course, I worry about security. In fact, my co-worker was freaking out when he saw my "proof" for this AMA. He's the one that made me take a pic of my NASA award with my user name. I've studied photography as well... I thought it was like science and art mixed together and I loved that. I sat through a lot of brutal critiques from my peers for a while. Being creative is being courageous. No one likes it at first.
Hi Christopher! Which do you think was more harmful to the prosecution's case: having O.J. try on the gloves (which ended up not fitting), or the fact that Mark Furhman was exposed as a racist cop who very likely planted evidence?
I have very basic coding experience from my time in high school. Now I am a middle aged man who is interested in taking it up again and possibly switching careers. What has been your experience in teaching older students? Any success stories?
Furhman. I'm sure as hell not going to say it was the glove. Duh.
Okay, first of all we have quite a few students that are in your shoes. I'll say that for some folks it's harder than others... Overall though older students have way more skin in the game, and they work hard. That's been my experience. If you look me up on LinkedIn and PM me there, I can point out a couple of folks that have done well... but I'd say they were probably superstars before they came to us. If you think that programming is something you'll love doing then I think you should go for it.
what first got you interested in law?
please ask the assistant who set up the lighting rig in your bedroom to also make your bed!
Are there any new, growing Web technologies you would suggest getting familiar with for someone already in the field?
I grew up at a time when there were a number of public trials involving civil rights leaders and what were referred to as "black militants." So there were a number of political trials and I knew how important the law was to the black community, and I admired those lawyers who took those cases, and I wanted to be one of them.
Look at how much snapchat charges for a filter... I think companies like facebook are all over that. You should check out some of the facial recognition tools that are out there and running great in the browser.
What do the think of the theory that OJs son killed Nicole and Ron? Did your office explore this before the trial?
What advice you give to someone who is a professional developer (1 year into my first job) with a BS in physics who wants to work for NASA one day (in development or engineering)?
I think the theory that OJ's son was involved in the murders is defamatory and untrue.
Network! Get out to some science related conferences where you know NASA will be at: AGU (American Geophysical Union), ASP (astronomical society of the pacific)-- start with the big orgs!
Why do you feel like anyone can program? The vast majority of those who graduate from boot camp can't think critically, and programming requires many years of practice to master fully. Do you think you are giving people false hopes?
My mama and daddy grew up in the south in East Texas, and my favorite ice cream is black walnut.
I don't really feel like anyone can program, and I do my best to make sure that people know that programming isn't the career for everyone. I don't like how bootcamps do advertise salaries and stuff like that... If it's any consolation, I try my best to help people decide if they are really right for a bootcamp style learning experience. That starts with finding out if they are doing it for the right reasons. Money is great and we all need security. Check out what James Gosling says about it... he created Java: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r19P3y1VBiw
At what point in a career would you recommend attending a programming boot camp? Is is enough to understand what variables, functions, classes etc are and how they work or should participants go in with a lof of hands-on experience already to really get the most of it?
Bonus question: How many times did you have to clarify that you're not an astronaut when you told people you work for NASA?
Lot's of our students don't necessarily understand variables, functions etc... I think when you decide that it's something you really want to do, then go for it. Figure out it programming is right for you. Don't think about salaries or anything. I know that's generic advice but I don't suggest our program to anyone who hasn't spent some time deciding they love to work with computers. As for the bonus... haha--many many times... They especially got confounded when I told them I was in an Earth Science part of NASA. I got the alien question a lot as well.
My friend currently is working as an intern developing some wikis for NASA! He says there are some hidden neat Easter eggs that some developers leave on some of the pages. Can you attest to that?
Hmmm... I've not heard that one... I'm geeky enough sometimes to do stuff like that but I never did.
What is the point of a bootcamp? Why not just use a free online tutorial?
I'd say that it's a place where you go and work out with other people and to leverage other people's knowledge. I don't think there is any magic or anything special that we do other than try to coach you and motivate you. Bootcamps aren't for everyone, and people quit. I think of it like a long training camp where you set some goals and go and work out until you are strong. If you can learn by online free stuff, it's out there and can totally work. Other people just like the environment.
I'm a high school senior, and I wanted to know if a computer science degree or an aerospace engineering degree is preferred to be a developer at NASA?
I worked with a woman at langley who has a degree in Math, and I have to say she's probably one of the smartest and best programmers I know. I also know a geology major that's a front end dev... so while it will help get your foot in the door... If you can do the job people will give you a shot if you can get in front of them. Generally speaking though, employers could use more math people... at NASA and everywhere else.
Only about 100 times... but it's still valid... I dunno.
Do you ever worry about reaching a tipping point where teaching people to code ends up more driving down wages than getting people into well-paying jobs?
I've never thought of it because I think that the number of people retiring soon is going to cause a greater demand in programs those folks were working on. I read a quora question the other day that got answered with something like COBOL still being used all over the place and that there are tons of people leaving COBOL based jobs. We can look at a lot of job figures but I think that there is solid demand for coders for at least a good while.
Aliens are absolutely real and I know one named Dave.
I guess I don't do that very often, especially considering my current line of work. But there are a ton of people that put all boot camps into the Devry/ITT boat without considering that some people actually do have integrity-- I'll get on with the answer:
I almost never know who is going to be successful. We as an org have tried to figure it out and, I've reached out to people like Angela Duckworth, a Stanford professor working with UPENN has been trying to figure this out. This is a cool talk if you have 6min: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance
So, if I had to go out on a limb--and put my reputation and integrity on the line. I probably would only recommend a boot camp style path to those who I could objectively identify the presence of grit in their character... and this would be super hard to do in an interview, right. And, so I guess I wouldn't recommend it to many. My job though isn't necessarily to pick people, I'm just a coach and a mentor. I can guide people, I am a good leader.
In many ways, I work with people that would have been successful with or without me or my boot camp. I would recommend that if you really really really want to code, you don't need a boot camp. We just assist you in that journey.
Applying as a developer for NASA, do they put you through a hardcore code challenge?
Were there positions the focused on a specific discipline, for example front end web dev? Looking though some openings at JPL I only see fullstack positions.
During my first interview, I sat with a senior dev and she quizzed me on sql queries and how much I knew about postgres. They had already checked my references and I had a bunch of work online back then. I didn't get any code challenge at all. They were more interested in my team mentality and how coachable I was. There are definitely positions that are advertised as hard-core but unless you're working with flight or some hard core engineering group you'll probably have a lot of freedom to do things the way you want. At JPL they have a science education outreach team there--get it touch with them. There's a guy named Peter Falcon that is on the SMAP team and he will know a lot of places to find some jobs. These guys do science reporting work as well so they are the front facing guys in the org.
What's your favorite part of working as a developer? I'm currently a student and intern at a software company learning and I'm loving it so far! Thanks!
My favorite part is the problem solving part. And doing something that is of actual value to someone else.
What is the most inane standard you had to meet/implement?
Every time someone would try to hack one of my sites--this would usually be on a friday afternoon, weekend or holiday--I would get a huge 100 page report of literally dozens of "vulnerabilities". We could start there but it would take forever. They were usually security related... but there was one time that I spent more than a week working with a scientist who couldn't decide what color blue was the best...
Thank you for this AMA!
My family is going to the Kennedy Space Center next month. Is there a hidden feature of that place that you most highly recommend families to check out, that few people know about?
Hmmm... I'm not aware of anything... "secret" necessarily... but make a whole day of it. I would say though that don't miss the VAB and the bus tour... the rocket garden is awesome... I dunno... if you know someone with a CAC card they can get you on.
Do you have to be an American Citizen to work for NASA in Computer Science? (my country doesn't have a huge space industry, although with RocketLabs its getting there)
You don't, there are plenty of foreign nationals that are working at NASA. Again... check out USAjobs.gov and also look at people who are winning technology contracts. Each NASA center has it's own subset of contractors.
Are you the reason NASA's website is the only government website that doesn't look like the CSS was written in under 5 minutes? (Supposed to be compliment)
That's funny because I was one of the first devs to try to use drupal. They hated me for that. I hated myself for that as well on some days.
If one wanted to create a new and international TMRC around amateur space telerobotics, where would one go for help?
There is a guy named Nick Skytland that is a tech evangelist--his group runs the Space Apps Challenge. He'd be a good guy to get in touch with.
Right now I have a couple, but the best one is the DJI phantom 3 pro. I am primarily flying that... I did break the gimble on it though so it's going to be a pricey fix.
Question, got a nephew who expressed interest in learning code, is there a resource you would suggest for a 14 year old kid to learn?
Totally, start here https://scratch.mit.edu/
I'm actually trying to start a local tech/programming club. Any suggestions?
Just fire up a meetup! I'm sure you'll find others in your area.
Why does such an advanced space program use such an irritating font?
Probably because of budget cuts... ;-)