Random job application at WTFU



  • Today's University WTF reminds me of an old bit of randomness back when I was a TA on a C/C++ course (read: C and scratching the surface of C++, still considered exceedingly hard).

    We had a PhD student from Middle East on the course, let's call him Mustapha X. Mustapha had already graduated from our university and was studying towards PhD. His problem was that he just could not understand pointers. After he failed the course, he tried to get a passing grade by claiming that the teaching staff was racist and did not want to let him through because of his ethnicity. It escalated the case to administrative level but did not ultimately work.

    A couple of months after the episode Mustapha sent me a job application, "Refer to your ad on the web", claiming programming skills in C/C++ among other languages.

    The punchline? There was no recruitment ad with my name on it.

    It later turned out that the world indeed was racist toward him: Because of US export regulations and his country of origin he was not allowed to use the university's number-crunching machines. Unfortunately his PhD subject was in aerodynamics.



  • @joutsa said:

    It later turned out that the world indeed was racist toward him: Because of US export regulations and his country of origin he was not allowed to use the university's number-crunching machines. Unfortunately his PhD subject was in aerodynamics.

     

    I wouldn't call that racist.  This would bve like me requiring you to use my coffee maker in my house instead of taking it to your house.  Oh and drinking the coffee here to, because it is in my mug.  They aren't saying he can't use it, they only said he can't use it while not here in the states, that's why it is an export issue.

    Although I do think it is funny that he tried to say the staff was racist when he couldn't do the work.  But I still don't know why you go tthe application.  Either he was a real idiot for trying to go to work for someone he already falsly accused or you were with a company that was hiring and it was the collective "your" hence no WTF. 



  • @KattMan said:

    They aren't saying he can't use it, they only said he can't use it while not here in the states, that's why it is an export issue.
    That's not how export laws and regulations work.  An 'export' can be as simple as telling a foreign person some information that's been deemed to be under export control.  It actually doesn't have anything to do with location or crossing borders.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @KattMan said:

    They aren't saying he can't use it, they only said he can't use it while not here in the states, that's why it is an export issue.
    That's not how export laws and regulations work.  An 'export' can be as simple as telling a foreign person some information that's been deemed to be under export control.  It actually doesn't have anything to do with location or crossing borders.

     

    In the case of knowledge yes.  That doesn't apply here as it concerns usage of an object, not the knowledge.

    Obviously he was able to use it while at the university, but now that he isn't there he can't use it.  This could be as limiting as the border around the university walls, this information isn't given.  So maybe I should have said they are saying he couldn't use the machine while not at the university, this is still an export issue and not a racist issue, because he could use it while attending. 



  • Your WTF reminds me of another export regulation WTF I was aware of a few years ago.

    Prior to the iron curtain falling apart, there was a Steel Mill project I was associated with where the customer was Polish.


    During the coding phase there were a bunch of Polish engineers working at the office of the engineering firm in the US (think light-bulbs)


    The PLC software was edited/compiled on a minicomputer (damn if I can remember the name/type right now, but I want to say VAX)


    But said minicomputer was a prohibited export to behind the iron curtain.


    Yet Polish engineers were also using said minicomputer in day to day tasks.

    Through a series of funny circumstances the DoD realized that there were communist engineers in the building and they were working with prohibited technologies.


    The comprise reached was that the Polish guys could use terminals attached to the minicomputer, but could not use/view the minicomputer directly.


    This also involved setting the minicomputer up in a locked cabinet specially designed for the purpose.

    Then one of the Polish engineers went to the Smithsonian, saw the same model minicomputer on display there, and took a photo of it.


    When he returned to the office, the photo of the minicomputer was proudly attached to the front of the locked up cabinet.



  • To clarify: This happened in Europe. The export regulations prohibit exporting powerful computer equipment to some countries. Apparently these regulations also forbid anybody from those countries using the machines in a third country (for all they know, the guy could have used the machine to numerically model nukes or something). If the guy tried play the racist card or pull some other stunt against the university, it probably did not help his case either.

    The thing that disturbs me here is that a probably innocent if stupid guy had escaped his home country to pursue a better life but could not finish his PhD because of the country he was from. Even if all those who placed and enforced the regulations were well-meaning.

    Anyway, the real WTF was supposed to be that this guy thought it would be a good idea to mail a generic job application (he even addressed me as "Dear Sir/Lady", not bothering to figure out which I am) to a teaching assistant who was in no position to recruit anybody, claiming to have skills the would-be recruiter knew he did not have. And all that after being such an ass that everyone involved would surely remember him and his incompetence (he wasn't exactly the only cheater but definitely the boldest).



  • The comprise reached was that the Polish guys could use terminals attached to the minicomputer, but could not use/view the minicomputer directly.
    This also involved setting the minicomputer up in a locked cabinet specially designed for the purpose.

    Wow. Is there even a way to use a VAX other than separate terminal?



  • @joutsa said:

    Wow. Is there even a way to use a VAX other than separate terminal?


    Probably not, but the export regs were such that they were not allowed to even see the damn thing.


    Of course the real fun and games started when I went on site in Russia for this job several years later [1], we didn't have the minicomputer and we had to effectively edit by hand the assembler code produced by the minicomputer before the system was shipped from the US to Russia. Eventually the export laws were relaxed enough to ship the minicomputer over, but the last I heard was that someone was pissed off and packaged the system up in a single huge crate which was so large that it got stuck in transit somewhere.


    [1] Through another set of funny circumstances the 1970's era steel mill that was originally destined for Poland ended up being installed in Russia in the early 90's.



  • Oh, you don't have to look back at the 90's to see those retarded laws in action.
    In the Netherlands it's illegal to share "Nuclear knowledge" (very 1950's) with anyone from Iran, because the government likes to think Iran doesn't have acces to things like internet or even libraries. After a university got fined for breaking this law, they realised they couldn't guarrentee no Iranian student ever saw anything concerning nuclear physics, they simply refused acces to 4 Iranian students. What followed was outrage, ending in the retracting of this retarded law.

    At least someone still has half a brain.



  • @joutsa said:

    The thing that disturbs me here is that a probably innocent if stupid guy had escaped his home country to pursue a better life but could not finish his PhD because of the country he was from. Even if all those who placed and enforced the regulations were well-meaning.


    what disturbs ME is this assumption that everybody from the middle-east going to study in the US must have somehow "escaped" from something. although this probably isn't only assumed for middle-easterns, which makes it even worse. because there surely cannot be any other reason to study in the US, except having just escaped from a dictatorship that the US still haven't "liberated".



  • @lanzz said:

    what disturbs ME is this assumption that everybody from the middle-east going to study in the US must have somehow "escaped" from something.
     

    You're behind the times.  Now we just assume they come over to blow stuff up.



  • what disturbs ME is this assumption that everybody from the middle-east going to study in the US must have somehow "escaped" from something.

    Whoa, calm down. I wrote "escaped" in same sense as "He escaped <insert some backwoods village here> and moved to New York". Think "left his home country" if it makes it easier. And by the way, this was in Finland, not US. Quite a lot foreign students come here for cheap education and low entry requirements. If that damn computer was not made in US or "Mustapha" had changed to a subject that did not require numerical modeling instead of escalating the thing, there would have been no problem.



  • @lanzz said:

    what disturbs ME is this assumption that everybody from the middle-east going to study in the US must have somehow "escaped" from something. although this probably isn't only assumed for middle-easterns, which makes it even worse. because there surely cannot be any other reason to study in the US, except having just escaped from a dictatorship that the US still haven't "liberated".

    Sounds like he was escaping a science-hating, liberty-depriving theocratic state so he could gain the education that his backwards nation could never provide him.  What else do you call it?



  •  @joutsa said:

    Wow. Is there even a way to use a VAX other than separate terminal?

    Yes.  Graphics cards were available, but generally only supported in workstations.



  • @joutsa said:

    And by the way, this was in Finland, not US. Quite a lot foreign students come here for cheap education and low entry requirements. If that damn computer was not made in US or "Mustapha" had changed to a subject that did not require numerical modeling instead of escalating the thing, there would have been no problem.


    sorry, didn't realize US export regulations are so strictly enforced in Finland. apparently, i'm really behind the times.



  • @lanzz said:

    what disturbs ME is this assumption that everybody from the middle-east going to study in the US must have somehow "escaped" from something. although this probably isn't only assumed for middle-easterns, which makes it even worse. because there surely cannot be any other reason to study in the US, except having just escaped from a dictatorship that the US still haven't "liberated".
     

    You sound a little jealous... Could it be that you're from one of those countries that needs the US to liberate them, and we've chosen not to? Or are you just a punk ass US basher, in the same way that the /. script kiddies like to bash MS for no reason? 



  • @KenW said:

    Or are you just a punk ass US basher, in the same way that the /. script kiddies like to bash MS for no reason? 

    Well I suppose he was bound to get tired of bashing the US in YouTube comments, so he decided to bring his rhetoric here.We seem to have a lot of this senselessness here lately.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    We seem to have a lot of this SenseLessNess here lately.

    True 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    We seem to have a lot of this SenseLessNess here lately.

    True 

     

    Haha, nice. Subtle and nice.


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