November 2019 Articles

Some good overall thoughts on testing from RJ Zaworski.

Testing verifies that the software in question does what it claims to do. It’s a powerful tool for eliminating defects, building confidence, encouraging good design, and likely all three, but the golden rule of software testing—the most fundamental reason to bother—is to secure the value the software creates.

Programs do useful things. Test suites make sure they continue to do them.

On Human Scum

Dave Pell ·

These are the three most infamous politicians to describe opponents as human scum: Hitler. Stalin. Trump.

As the simple truths spoken by impeachment witnesses backed him into a corner, the president repeated his use of one of history’s most notorious phrases: “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day. Keep fighting tough, Republicans, you are dealing with human scum.”

While Trump’s command of history is limited, he is aware of the nature of this particular phrase because he has used it, and been admonished for it, before. The sick attacks on Schiff, particularly using a trope associated with two of history’s most vile antisemites, calls into question when (if ever) Trump’s defenders will finally say enough is enough.

Many of us ask ourselves such questions. Work is a conundrum. We cannot measure the consequences of our choices against the alternatives that have passed us by. We can only try to be thoughtful and humble, empathise, observe others – sometimes a painful exercise – and speculate about what might have been.

Here, then, is my speculation. Work is something we struggle to get and strive to keep. We love-hate it (usually not in equal measure). Sometimes it seems meaningless. I’m told this is the case even for surgeons, teachers and disaster-relief workers: those with jobs whose worth seems indisputable. For the mere facilitators, the obscure cogs in the machinery of the modern economy whose precise function and value it takes some effort to ascertain, the meaning in wh at we do often seems particularly elusive (I should know). I contend, however, that while our lives need to be meaningful, our work does not; it only has to be honest and useful. And if someone is voluntarily paying you to do something, it’s probably useful at least to them.