Kafka at my workplace

I donated blood today.
My previous four weeks at work would not be out of place in a Kafka novel. As you know from my previous post, I first left a site then was sent back.
A few days after arriving back, my network access was disabled. It is a routine security precaution to do this when someone leaves. Unfortunately, the message that I was coming back slipped through the cracks. Alarmingly, my access still hasn’t been restored, almost four whole weeks later.
Here comes the Kafkaesque part. The person whose job it is to fix access was on leave (s/he’s back now) so nothing could be done. You’d think that in a huge organisation (the client site is a bank) there would be things like proper delegation and control so that if the person with relevant authority is unavailable there is someone with the necessary authority who can handle it. But no.
It would appear that whenever an organisation exceeds a certain size, it becomes a bureaucracy. Plenty of rules and regulations that, instead of helping, slow things down.
I’ve been able to access the system. I have an alternate user account that gives me restricted access (system under test, no email, intranet but no internet). One thing the client demands is that we log our times on its internal system. Without access, I can’t log time. This has me worried.
Well, the responsible official is back, so by Monday, things should be sorted. I’m hopeful, but not completely.

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Well, that was quick

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was leaving the client where I’d been assigned for over four years, and going to a new site. Well, that was the initial plan anyway. Things have changed and I’m back where I was.

On Monday, I reported to my new site. I was told I would be taking over and that this week would be handover with me officially starting next week. The person I was taking over from would show me what to do. By Wednesday, things were going along swimmingly. Then, my head office manager showed up and told me that a woman on my old client site was going on maternity leave. Since I’d been there for over four years and knew both the client’s processes and the system under test, I was picked to replace her. I was instructed to go back on Thursday. This was a huge, and in some ways unpleasant, surprise.

My manager on the new site was unhappy, and I totally understand. Handover had been going very well, and now handover has to start anew with someone else. It had taken me over two days to get the hang of things, and the new person would have only two days to learn.

The people at my old site were surprised and pleased to see me back. It’s good to be back, but at the same time I’m worried about the site I was pulled off from.

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An unexpected change

As you probably know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I test software for a living. Today I received a not entirely pleasant surprise. My contract at my current site ended today. Monday I’m going to a new site.
I can’t entirely blame my employer for springing this on me. On Tuesday I came down with the flu, and I was booked off until today. I would probably have been notified earlier had I not been off sick. It’s still a bit of a shock though.
I kind of like the site I’ve just left. I was there for over four years in total – the longest I’ve been at any client. The next longest period I’ve spent at a client was two years and three months. I’ve been testing software for just over ten years, and those two sites make up more than half my work experience.
There is a saying that a change is as good as a holiday. I’m about to find out if that’s true.

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The meaning of being a man

There’s something that’s been knocking around in my mind for quite some time now. It’s not something I usually blog about, but I just feel the need to get it out there. That I’m blogging it on Fathers’ Day is oddly appropriate.
I was reading an article on Cracked, and they linked through to this article on bronies. For those of you who don’t know, bronies are adult male fans of the cartoon show “My little pony: friendship is magic”. It discussed how bronies came from the first generation to be raised significantly by feminists.
Feminism changed women’s role in society, and by extension society itself. But an obvious question appears to have gone unasked (or at least, I’ve never seen it asked). That question is: what is men’s role in society?
Because the role of women in society changed, the role of men in society had to change. Yet, like I said, I haven’t seen this question asked anywhere, and that surprises me somewhat. It seems so odd that such a necessary discussion hasn’t taken place. If it has and you know where, I would appreciate a link.
Another Cracked article I read was about the Men’s Rights Movement. It is shocking how something that could have triggered the discussion referred to above turned into a rage-filled orgy. The article portrays them as insecure, angry, and with their heads up their backsides. A real pity, actually.
The incompetent dad is a cliche that goes back to the earliest days of sitcoms and is still used today. Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are the best examples. Yet the fathers I knew while growing up (including my own) typically weren’t incompetent or stupid. They, like the mothers, were doing their best. Sometimes it wasn’t good enough, usually it was.
What makes a man? I suppose that’s my question. Yet, just like there isn’t one way to be a woman, there isn’t one way to be a man. You could be an active parent, absent parent, childless; single, in a stable relationship, a bed-hopper; a high-flying professional, a tradesman, an assembly line worker. What skills should all men have? How should they behave in different situations?
If you have any thoughts about this, dear reader, please read my Comments Policy and submit your comments below.

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Letting the side down

Be warned: there are some swear words in this post.
It’s a real nuisance when you’re an advocate and members of your group let the side down.
You’ve probably heard of the “virgin killer” Elliot Rodger, who stabbed three of his roommates to death before embarking on a shooting rampage killing three more people. Some have suggested that he may have been autistic, but he was never diagnosed and he was prescribed medication for things that weren’t autism. He was angry that women were ignoring him. If he was autistic (which appears unlikely), just remember that being autistic is no guarantee against being an entitled arsehole, and that it wasn’t what made him a murderer. If you want to read a summary of his manifesto, here’s part 1. Link to the next part is at the bottom of the linked article.
Somebody who actually is letting the side down is Jake Crosby (yet again). He’s given a talk at AutismOne, a trade show for autism quacks that masquerades as a conference. Some people at Orac’s blog (including Orac) have seen video of the talk. They’re not impressed.

Crosby specialises in conspiracy theory plots about those who argue with him. Disappointing.

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Profanity Alert: find a fire and die in it PETA

As the heading warns, there’s going to be swearing in this post.
Some time ago, I posted about PETA lying about milk causing autism, and how they were slapped down several years ago by the autism community. PETA is now pretending that this never happened, and has a new advertising campaign out repeating the lie that milk consumption is related to autism. Science Based Medicine has the details.
Fuck you PETA. Fuck you up the arse with a family of angry porcupines. We have enough bullshit in our lives without you hijacking us as a vehicle for your ideology. I’ve been fighting shithead antivaxxers for four years now. I don’t need to fight a second group of brain dead fuckwits.
The research you used for your campaign is out of date and has been questioned. Many years ago, it was believed that gluten and casein could worsen autism symptoms. That was not the case. If an autistic child is gluten or casein intolerant, then excluding those items will help. Otherwise, a gluten free casein free diet is both useless and expensive.
If you have any decency, PETA, you will not only drop your campaign, you will express your sincerest regrets for attempting to hijack autism advocacy and undertake never to do it again.

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Some follow up, and a “study” leaves me fuming

Just a heads up, there’s going to be raging in this post.
In my last post, I wrote about doctors who treated a woman with cancer by giving her a massive dose of measles vaccine. Well, Abbie has more details. It turns out that the measles had adapted to the point where it could only replicate in cancerous cells, not healthy ones. But go and read her post.
And now for the story that provoked my rage. According to a new study it seems that there is a high correlation between being autistic and being a mass murderer.

Among the 239 eligible killers, 28 per cent had ‘definite, highly probable or possible ASD’ of which 7 per cent also had a head injury.

Here’s a good quote, though.

The researchers stressed the study is “clearly limited” by the “anecdotal and speculative” nature of some of the published accounts. “We’re not saying people with autism will be serial killers,” [lead researcher Clare] Allely said, adding “it’s way too early to make any statement like that.”

Oh, you’re not saying that? You took a bunch of mass murderers, looked for “signs of autism” in them, then used that to build a case, and you’re not saying that? Paula Durbin Westby wrote this comment below.

If you go back to my post, you can see the new Venn diagram and the chart of “six killers with definite ASD diagnosis,” with information about each one, including that only ONE person has a *definite* ASD diagnosis. The 67 people on the Venn diagram are actually 6, because the other 61 do not have “definite” diagnoses and are therefore in the realm of speculation. But the whole thing is speculative in nature

One of the other comments nailed it.

They take a sample of mass killers, then retrospectively look for details supportive of autism in popular press reports, then pretend they found a valid statistical correlation based on clinical analysis. If there is any methodology rife for bias, this would be it.

Yes. And this dishonest study is likely to make our already difficult lives worse. Thanks, “researchers”.

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