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Re: [hackers-il] Academic education is Israel

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  • mulix
    [ warning, very long reply and obviously a heated issue for nadav ] ... i beg to disagree. consider two equally good candidates for position foo. which one
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
      [ warning, very long reply and obviously a heated issue for nadav ]

      On Thu, 7 Jun 2001, Nadav Har'El wrote:

      > On Thu, Jun 07, 2001, mulix wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Academic education is Israel":
      > > you are avoiding an important issue (from the army's perspective) - the
      > > training required to bring the person to the level his position
      > > requires. some positions do not tolerate "learning on the job", for
      > > example, a fighter pilot... from the army's persepective, a two year
      > > long training, or even a year long training, do not justify themselves
      > > unless the person agrees to sign for more than the basic three years.
      >
      > No, this is crap, and this is exactly the kind of crap they feed Atuda
      > prospects (I was seduced into signing for 6 years even though I wans't
      > an Atudai! But I'm starting to tell my long, boring, story..).

      i beg to disagree. consider two equally good candidates for position
      foo. which one should the army choose? the one who will do the training,
      do the minimum time required on the job and then leave, or the one who
      will guarantee that he will stay for some extended amount of time,
      therefore doing the job better, by virtue of accumulated expereience?
      and yes, these candidates are both EQUALLY good.

      > Every company would love to have trained people to stay with it. Every
      > company would prefer people with 3 years of experience to people without
      > experience. But no company accepts people without experience by forcing
      > them to sign, in advance, for 6 years. That's just not an accepted practice
      > in democratic society.

      ehm, this is the army. the army operates under unique circumstances, in
      that virtually all of its man-power starts untrained and without
      experience. show me a company that starts this way and i'll show you a
      chronicle of bankruptcy-in-happening.

      > You can offer incentives for people to stay after 3 years: making the army
      > service more enjoyable (is crappy food an medical service REALLY NECESSARY
      > in the army?), making technical people part of external DoD bodies not
      > ruled by army beaurocy (e.g., see the NSA example I gave before). Treat
      > people like human beings, respect them, and make them feel like they make
      > a different (rather than being a 300-shekel-per-month Windows rebooter).
      > You'd be surprise but most people don't stay in the army (or try to quit
      > in the middle, using all sort of ugly tricks) for the way they are treated,
      > not because (for example) they would get more money outside.

      actually, the unit i was in was really superb in all of these respects,
      and i still chose to leave once my three years were up. not because of
      my unit, which was incredible (and an excellent preamble to a high
      tech career), but because it was still a part of the army and
      occasionally you were reminded of that in the most unpleasant ways
      you can imagine.

      > The reason for my external-bodies suggestion is that the people we're talking
      > about, hackers, nerds, and the similar populations, hate living under strict
      > disciplanry control, and such control is not needed (and is in fact counter-
      > productive) for the work they are many times supposed to do. They don't like
      > to wear starched green clothes all the time. They don't like to polish their
      > shoes. They don't like to be told how/when to work. They don't like to be
      > mistreated by the medical staff (where the default is to assume you're
      > pretending to be sick - once I was home sick 2 weeks just because they
      > mistreated me in the first couple of days). They don't like to be promoted
      > based on pazam rather than what they actually do. They even less like to
      > be promoted based on irrelevant military courses (such as kurs
      > kzinim).

      again, the unit i was in did not have much in the way of control,
      exactly because it was counterintuitive to production. and i know of
      many other places, where your average hacker/nerd/cs graduate is likely
      to end up, where it is the army in name only. most of the time. it's the
      time when you are forcefully reminded that you ARE in the army that
      cause you to leave in the end.

      > > even a position (such as the one i was in) where the training is
      > > relatively short (because you only get in if you already know what you
      > > are doing) but you constantly learn on the job (on the army's time or
      > > off of it) new skills and techniques only makes sense for the army if
      > > you agree to sign some 'keva'. plus, there is the law of supply and
      > > demand - as long as some (good) people are willing to agree to the
      > > army's conditions, the army can make all the conditions it wants to, be
      > > they 6 years or 16.
      >
      > What you're saying makes my blood boil ;) Of course it "makes sense for the
      > army". You know what - it would make sense for them to sign people for 30
      > years. Why bother trying to convince people to stay in the army, when you
      > can coeerce them into it? Why not say to all new recruits
      >
      > "You know what, we have two kinds of open positions: either clean toilets
      > for 3 years, or we have interesting things to do, but you'll need to
      > sign for 10 years (but don't worry, we'll pay you for the last 7 years)."

      why bother? because coerced people are far less productive then people
      who vulonteered or were persuaded to remain. witness the large army
      presence at the last technion job fair, for example.

      > This is not hypothetical - this is *exactly* what is happening, with all
      > sorts of "kadats", atudai, handesai, and similar plans. As I said above
      > I wasn't an Atudai at all (I finished my BA before I was enlisted), but
      > they still managed to got me to sign for 6 years. Actually, after 2 years
      > I was given the choice (again, long story...) and I chose to stay, out of
      > my free will, for 4 more years, so why did they need me to sign for 6 years
      > in the first place?

      excellent question. because that way they can plan in advance on having
      the necessary man-power? or simply because they can and people will
      agree to their conditions?

      i understand you dont think people should not be _given_ this sort of
      choice. do tell me, however, how you can justify the two years of
      training a fighter pilot undergoes before he starts being "productive",
      if he's only productive for one year and then he is free to leave? he
      might choose to stay, but he might also leave. how can the army justify
      that option economically?

      > The legislative branch must come and say NO! to this. The army should not
      > be able to do anything that "makes sense for the army". Not only is this
      > absolutely not fair and immoral, but we need well-educated and smart people
      > outside the army too! Every year the army wastes from a smart person's
      > life (I saw many such young people) is a year that person won't be working
      > in the industry. One of the reasons we can afford such a huge army (by
      > huge I mean cost-wise, not number of people) is that we have such a large
      > per-capita income and taxes.

      i think it can be safely said you had a bad army experience, and i'm
      sorry for that. i, on the other hand, learned somethign new every day in
      the army, did the things i love with people who shared my passion for
      writing code, and accumulated lots of experience. all this, without
      signing for one extra minute of keva. i dont doubt many people share
      your misgivings about the army, but neither do i doubt many peolpe share
      my kind of story. in recent newspaper articles, my unit was called "the
      hightech greenhouse of israel". how much of that per-capita income you talk about
      is coming from people who, once they leave the army use _the knowledge
      they learned in the army_ to make many millions of dollars? (checkpoint
      comes to mind here...)

      > If you don't think that the army wastes peoples' years Just Because They
      > Can, you probably haven't been in the army...

      oh, i have been, and i hated some of it, and i loved some of it, and all
      in all, it's a matter of luck. what you do, where you do it and who you
      do it with are the difference between X years of heaven or X years of
      hell.

      > The "law of supply and demand" is absolutely irrelevant. The army is the
      > worst kind of monopoly that exists (because you're forced to buy its product,
      > i.e., serve it for at least 3 years), and it must be controled by the
      > legislative branch before it devours our society. Imagine another monopoly,
      > Microsoft, doing what the army does. You'd be told something like
      >
      > "You now *have* to spend $1000 on our products and use only them for
      > a year. We can sell you Microsoft Bob [an example of a useless
      > product] for that $1000, but we'll give you another option -
      > buy Microsoft Office for $2000. What would you prefer? Hey, we're a
      > very nice company - we're giving you CHOICE!"

      how is this the same, nadav? again, consider two equally good
      candidates. which one should the army choose for the position? the one
      who will bring more use to the army, by staying and doing the job
      longer (and because of accumulated experience, better). plain and
      simple, dont you agree?
      --
      mulix
      http://www.advogato.com/person/mulix

      linux/reboot.h: #define LINUX_REBOOT_MAGIC1 0xfee1dead
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... Every company has some experienced people, and many inexperienced people (which are also paid less). Just look around you, in everything from waiting
      Message 2 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
        On Thu, Jun 07, 2001, mulix wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Academic education is Israel":
        > > Every company would love to have trained people to stay with it. Every
        > > company would prefer people with 3 years of experience to people without
        > > experience. But no company accepts people without experience by forcing
        > > them to sign, in advance, for 6 years. That's just not an accepted practice
        > > in democratic society.
        >
        > ehm, this is the army. the army operates under unique circumstances, in
        > that virtually all of its man-power starts untrained and without
        > experience. show me a company that starts this way and i'll show you a
        > chronicle of bankruptcy-in-happening.

        Every company has some experienced people, and many inexperienced people (which
        are also paid less). Just look around you, in everything from waiting tables in
        restaurants to high-tech companies. Of course, everybody would just *love*
        to have only experienced people, but that just doesn't happen.

        Besides, the whole idea of Atuda was to let you get some knowledge and
        experience before you join the army, so you'd be productive right away.
        True, you won't be productive on the first month, but take my word for it -
        it doesn't take a person 3 years to become productive. In my service, I
        considered myself productive after 6 months.

        > actually, the unit i was in was really superb in all of these respects,
        > and i still chose to leave once my three years were up. not because of
        > my unit, which was incredible (and an excellent preamble to a high
        > tech career), but because it was still a part of the army and
        > occasionally you were reminded of that in the most unpleasant ways
        > you can imagine.

        Read what you write again: read the first line of the above paragraph, and then
        the last two lines. Don't you see a contradiction? Many people tell me
        "my army unit is not a normal unit and it was wonderful..." but then go on
        saying "but the food was uneatable, and I couldn't bare staying there
        another day and eat that food" or "I couldn't get decent medical treatment
        and on one occasion I nearly died". Somehow people don't see the
        contradiction...

        Unfortunately, many people don't even have the experience you had: they
        simply had a crappy service, like the reboot-the-Windows-PC guy I told you
        about. I know plenty of people who had service similar to that, supposedly
        in the high-tech area but in actuality it was simply a way to get them to
        sign for more years.

        > again, the unit i was in did not have much in the way of control,
        > exactly because it was counterintuitive to production. and i know of
        > many other places, where your average hacker/nerd/cs graduate is likely
        > to end up, where it is the army in name only. most of the time. it's the
        > time when you are forcefully reminded that you ARE in the army that
        > cause you to leave in the end.

        Again, you completely contradict yourself in this paragraph. Your last sentence
        is exactly my point.

        > why bother? because coerced people are far less productive then people
        > who vulonteered or were persuaded to remain. witness the large army
        > presence at the last technion job fair, for example.

        This is not quite true. Say a coereced person does 50% work than a person
        who truely likes the job. So instead of trying to find 10 people to come
        to your unit, isn't it simpler to just get 20 people in their mandatory
        service? And isn't it even easier to get 10 people who will come for double
        the time? Easy, yes. Fair or good for the overall economy, no.

        > i understand you dont think people should not be _given_ this sort of
        > choice. do tell me, however, how you can justify the two years of
        > training a fighter pilot undergoes before he starts being "productive",
        > if he's only productive for one year and then he is free to leave? he
        > might choose to stay, but he might also leave. how can the army justify
        > that option economically?

        Maybe the case of pilots is somewhat different, and requires an exception.
        But exceptions should be made only in very rare cases. Currently it is
        almost a norm to tell new recruits something along the lines of "you can
        either have a crappy job at the army, or a good job - but all the good
        jobs need signing more time". I was told this when I enlisted 7 years
        ago, my younger sister was told this 2 years ago, and they are still saying
        this. And not only for hightech jobs - just look the the army's latest
        "kadats" brochure.

        > i think it can be safely said you had a bad army experience, and i'm
        > sorry for that. i, on the other hand, learned somethign new every day in

        You couldn't be more wrong :) Do you know me as someone who complains only
        about wrongs done to him? Do you think I also wrote that essay about how free
        software can help poor people because I am a poor person?

        I had a very non-standard and interesting army service. I wasn't an Atudai.
        I only spent one month in the actual army, and the rest of the time I was
        in a non-army body. After two years I became an ordinary civilian, and stayed
        in that place for 4 more years, out of my own free will and without the
        horrible green clothes (but did exactly the same important service for our
        country). I traveled abroad several times during my service. I finished my
        masters degree during those 6 years (although it was very hard, as I said in
        a previous post).
        No, I did not have a bad army experience. But I see other people around me,
        having a REALLY BAD army experience, just because they were less lucky in the
        cosmic roll-of-the-dice.

        > the army, did the things i love with people who shared my passion for
        > writing code, and accumulated lots of experience. all this, without
        > signing for one extra minute of keva. i dont doubt many people share

        This is how it should be. And if you really loved it, you could have stayed
        there after the 3 years were over (of course, not everyone would stay but
        if only 25% stayed, it would be enough and they didn't have to force everyone
        to stay 3 years).

        > your misgivings about the army, but neither do i doubt many peolpe share
        > my kind of story. in recent newspaper articles, my unit was called "the
        > hightech greenhouse of israel". how much of that per-capita income you talk about
        > is coming from people who, once they leave the army use _the knowledge
        > they learned in the army_ to make many millions of dollars? (checkpoint
        > comes to mind here...)

        Wouldn't they get the same knoweldge by working 3 years in the civilian
        industry? They would.

        I'm not saying serving in the army is not important - it certainly is. But
        there are other important things in life. It is up to the knesset to decide
        just how important the army is, and put it in its place - not to become
        more important than it really is. Similarly, the military gets some part of
        the national budget. Maybe it's 10% and maybe it is 50% - but it is up to
        the knesset to decide that, and once it is decided the army should be
        satisfied by what it is getting, and not try to get more using ugly tricks.
        If the army will benefit by increasing its budget by 10%, it doesn't mean
        it should be done - there are other considerations too.

        > how is this the same, nadav? again, consider two equally good
        > candidates. which one should the army choose for the position? the one
        > who will bring more use to the army, by staying and doing the job
        > longer (and because of accumulated experience, better). plain and
        > simple, dont you agree?

        Why are you bringing up what the army wants all the time? The army will
        prefer people to enlist for 10 years. I will prefer to pay them 100 shekels
        a month, instead of 300, and to call the first 9 years "sherut chova" and
        only the last year "keva". It will prefer people to sleep in tents rather
        than build places to sleep. It will prefer to get 90% of the national budget,
        and not anything less. It will prefer people to do 180 days of miluim every
        year.
        But it doesn't matter what it prefers. It should be aware of the costs to
        the economy of its preferences. And it should retain at least some spark
        of morality, dignity, fairness, and respect to the human beings that it
        enlists.

        And again, I don't think that the choice to stay in the army longer, when
        made in advance, is really a free choice, or a fair "michraz" between
        candidates. In this michraz you have one monopoly and many people who are
        forced to "use your services", which is what makes it fixed and causes so
        many people to enlist for extra years (6 years is really a lot, but many
        people I know, not atudaim, did more than 3 years - anything from 3.5 to 5
        years.)

        Sorry about all this ranting ;) Nothing is against you Muli, of course - I'm
        just clearing some anger :) I think we should open a new list,
        ranting-and-bitching-il for this kind of postings...


        --
        Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Jun 7 2001, 16 Sivan 5761
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |A smart man always covers his ass. A
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |wise man just keeps his pants on.
      • mulix
        ... allow me to clarify: my unit was fantastic in the _professional_ aspect, but it was still a a part of the army. professionaly it was wonderful, but it was
        Message 3 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
          On Thu, 7 Jun 2001, Nadav Har'El wrote:

          > > actually, the unit i was in was really superb in all of these respects,
          > > and i still chose to leave once my three years were up. not because of
          > > my unit, which was incredible (and an excellent preamble to a high
          > > tech career), but because it was still a part of the army and
          > > occasionally you were reminded of that in the most unpleasant ways
          > > you can imagine.
          >
          > Read what you write again: read the first line of the above paragraph, and then
          > the last two lines. Don't you see a contradiction? Many people tell me

          allow me to clarify: my unit was fantastic in the _professional_ aspect,
          but it was still a a part of the army. professionaly it was wonderful,
          but it was still a part of the army and as such, sometimes things
          sucked. .

          i agree with you on general army suckiness. i disagree with you on the
          army's _professional_ suckiness. does that clear up the
          apparent contradiction?

          > You couldn't be more wrong :) Do you know me as someone who complains only
          > about wrongs done to him? Do you think I also wrote that essay about how free
          > software can help poor people because I am a poor person?

          i guess i shouldn't have assumed. your email came accross with the sort
          of tone i associate with strong _personal_ feeelings. i'm glad you
          didnt suffer too much :)

          > > the army, did the things i love with people who shared my passion for
          > > writing code, and accumulated lots of experience. all this, without
          > > signing for one extra minute of keva. i dont doubt many people share
          >
          > This is how it should be. And if you really loved it, you could have stayed
          > there after the 3 years were over (of course, not everyone would stay but
          > if only 25% stayed, it would be enough and they didn't have to force everyone
          > to stay 3 years).

          the army, or rather my superiors, would have loved for me to stay (and
          indeed, tried to tempt me in many ways) but i was set on starting the
          technion as soon as possible. if i was "forced" to stay, it wouldn't
          have hurt me one bit.

          > > your misgivings about the army, but neither do i doubt many peolpe share
          > > my kind of story. in recent newspaper articles, my unit was called "the
          > > hightech greenhouse of israel". how much of that per-capita income you talk about
          > > is coming from people who, once they leave the army use _the knowledge
          > > they learned in the army_ to make many millions of dollars? (checkpoint
          > > comes to mind here...)
          >
          > Wouldn't they get the same knoweldge by working 3 years in the civilian
          > industry? They would.

          they would - if they could get in in the first place. how many companies
          do you know that train _completely unexperienced and unproven_ people
          and give them this kind of knowledge?

          > Why are you bringing up what the army wants all the time? The army will

          because i agree with you that the army should not be all powerfull and
          omnipotent, should not take too many resources from society. however,
          the only way for the army to do that is to use whatever resources it
          does have in the most effective way. and unfortunately, you, and i, and
          every other 18 year old are _resources_ for the army, to be used in the
          most effective possible way.

          you cannot give with one hand and deny with the other. we agree that the
          army is a necessity, do we not? we agree that it should be as efficient
          as possible in its usage of resources, do we not, in order to be the
          least burden for society? well, for the army, just like for any other
          company, a person _is_ a resource, to be used as effectively is
          possible. some army units understand nowdays that sometimes that means
          giving their people good conditions and a good salary and treating them
          like human beings. one day, i hope, the entire army will realise this
          and then they wont need to coerce someone into signing 'keva', since
          they'll be able to compete fair and square for that person. until that
          happens, the army will use whatever advantage it has. i am NOT saying it
          is right, but i am saying its justified, _from the army's point of
          view_.

          > Sorry about all this ranting ;) Nothing is against you Muli, of course - I'm
          > just clearing some anger :) I think we should open a new list,
          > ranting-and-bitching-il for this kind of postings...

          nothing personal here either, nadav :)

          but can we get back to hacking now?
          --
          mulix
          http://www.advogato.com/person/mulix

          linux/reboot.h: #define LINUX_REBOOT_MAGIC1 0xfee1dead
        • Adi Stav
          ... Actually, the army does not want to receive 90% of the budget, because that would harm economical growth and would reduce the overall budget in the future.
          Message 4 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
            On Thu, Jun 07, 2001 at 03:47:14PM +0300, Nadav Har'El wrote:
            > Why are you bringing up what the army wants all the time? The army will
            > prefer people to enlist for 10 years. I will prefer to pay them 100 shekels
            > a month, instead of 300, and to call the first 9 years "sherut chova" and
            > only the last year "keva". It will prefer people to sleep in tents rather
            > than build places to sleep. It will prefer to get 90% of the national budget,
            > and not anything less. It will prefer people to do 180 days of miluim every
            > year.

            Actually, the army does not want to receive 90% of the budget, because
            that would harm economical growth and would reduce the overall budget in
            the future. The army has an "econimical planning" unit that does the
            necessary calculations and estimation to decide what is the optimum amount
            to request, that would leave the army with as much money as possible both
            in the present and future.

            Of course, that supports your point further.
          • peleg_w@yahoo.com
            ... determining what ... do in the next ... through a ... And see his ... Would he ... your other ... You do have a point here. I still have a few months to
            Message 5 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
              --- In hackers-il@y..., Dan Kenigsberg <danken@c...> wrote:
              > > I'm currently finishing 11th grade and since I want to get to the
              > > atuda
              >
              > WHY? Maybe you should think again. Remember - not only are you
              determining what
              > you are going to do, but also what a 27 years old man is going to
              do in the next
              > decade. Are you sure he will want to wear green outfit? Or go
              through a
              > bureaucratic ordeal when he wants to go abroad, or see a doctor?
              And see his
              > friends having fun in south America while he's doing Katzin Toran?
              Would he
              > think of you kindly?
              >
              > I'm not saying not to consider it, or apply for it. But check out
              your other
              > options before you commit.


              You do have a point here.
              I still have a few months to decide if I want to do it, and I'll re-
              consider it.
            • peleg_w@yahoo.com
              ... know, ... CS, is ... I am in 5 points... I had no other choice since I wanted to take Physics and CS.
              Message 6 of 12 , Jun 7, 2001
                --- In hackers-il@y..., mulix <mulix@a...> wrote:
                > the technion does not have such a formal requirement, as far as i
                know,
                > but since 5 point math get a double bonus (they count as 10 points)
                > plus a 30% (if i remember correctly) modifier, getting in without 5
                > points can be almost impossible. the competition, especially for
                CS, is
                > fierce :(
                >
                > --
                > mulix
                > http://www.advogato.com/person/mulix
                >
                > linux/reboot.h: #define LINUX_REBOOT_MAGIC1 0xfee1dead

                I am in 5 points... I had no other choice since I wanted to take
                Physics and CS.
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